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THE 



WIDE, WIDE WORLD 



BY 



ELIZABETH WETHERELL 



SIXTH EDITION 



Here at the portal thou dost stand, 

And -with thy little hand 
Thou openest the mysterious gate, 

Into the future's undiscovered land 

I see its valves expand, 
As at the touch of Fate ! 
Into those realms of Love and Hate. 

LONSFELLOW 



VOLUME I, 

NEW-YORK: 
GEORGE P. PUTNAM, 155 BROADWAY 

18 5 1. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by 

GEORGE P. PUTNAM, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District at 
New- York. 



J<VftL- 





CONTENTS OF CHAPTERS. 




- 


V n T TT 1W I? T 

V U h U iH h 1 . 








Page 


Chapter L 


Breaking the news, • . . 


9 


11 


Gives sorrow to the winds, . 


17 


III. 


The worth of a finger-ring, . . 


. 30 


IV. 


The bitter-sweet of life, 


43 


V. 


A peep into the wide world, . 


51 


VI. 


Night and morning, ..... 


67 


VII. 


" Strangers walk as friends," 


. 78 


VIII. 


Leaves us in the street, 


92 


IX. 


The Little Queen in the arm-chair, 


. 107 


X. 


Mud — and what came of it, . . 


m 


XL 


Running away with the brook, 


. 138 


XII. 


Splitters, ..... 


150 


XIII. 


Hope deferred, ... 


. 158 


XIV. 


Work not deferred, .... 


166 


XV. 


Mother Earth rather than Aunt Fortune, 


. 176 


XVI 


Counsel, cakes, and Captain Parry, 


189 


XVII. 


Difficulty of doing right, . . . . 


. 206 


XVIII. 


Loses care on the Cat's back, .... 


220 


XIX. 


Showing that in some circumstances white is black, 


. 235 



iV CONTENTS. 

Chap. XX. Ilea Jsick and heartsick, .... 245 

XXI. Footsteps of angels, . . . .262 

XXII. Shows how Mr. Van Brunt could be sharp upon some 

things, . . . . . .276 

XXIII. How Miss Fortune went out and Pleasure came in, . 2-7 
XXrV. Sweeping and dusting, . . . . 2. ( *> 

. Shows what noise a bee can make when it gets into tbe 

house, ....... 307 

XXVI. Sundry things round a pot of chocolate, . . 321 

XXVII. The jingling of sleigh-bells, . . . .338 

XXVIII. Scraps— of Morocco and talk 349 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



CHAPTEE 1 

Enjoy the spring of love and yonth, 

To some good angel leave the rest, 
For time will teach thee soon the truth, 

" There are no birds in last year's nest." 

Longfellow. 

Mamma, what was that I heard papa saying to you this 
morning about his lawsuit ?" 

" I cannot tell you just now. Ellen, pick up that shawl, 
and spread it over me." 

" Mamma ! — are you cold in this warm room ?" 

" A little, — there, that will do. Now, my daughter, let 
me be quiet awhile — don't disturb me." 

There was no one else in the room. Driven thus to her 
own resources Ellen betook herself to the window and 
sought amusement there. The prospect without gave little 
promise of it. Rain was falling*, and made the street and 
everything in it look dull and gloomy. The foot-passen- 
gers plashed through the water, and the horses and carriages 
plashed through the mud ; gaiety had forsaken the side- 
walks, and equipages were few, and the people that were 
out were plainly there only because they could not help it. 
But yet Ellen, having seriously set herself to study every- 
thing that passed, presently became engaged in her occu- 
pation ; and her thoughts travelling dreamily from one thing 
to another, she sat for a long time with her little face 
pressed against the window-frame, perfectly regardless of 
all but the moving world without. 

Daylight gradually faded away, and the street wore a more 
and more gloomy aspect. The rain poured, and now only an 
2 



10 



THE WIDE, "WIDE WORLD. 



occasional carriage or footstep disturbed the sound of its 
steady pattering. Yet si ill Ellen sat with her face glued 
to the window as if spell-bound, gazing out at every dusky 
form that passed, as though it had some strange interest for 
her. At length, in the distance, light after light began to 
appear; presently Ellen could see the dim figure of the 
lamplighter crossing the street, from side to side, with his 
ladder ; — then he drew near enough for her to watch him as 
he hooked his ladder on the lamp-irons, ran up and lit the 
lamp, then shouldered the ladder and marched off quick, the 
light glancing on his wet oil-skin hat, rough great coat and 
lantern, and on the pavement and iron railings. The veriest 
moth could not have followed the light with more perseve- 
rance than did Eller/c* eyes — till the lamplighter gradually 
disappeared from view, and the last lamp she could see was lit ; 
and not till then did it occur to her that there was such a 
place as in-doors. She took her face from the window. The 
room was dark and cheerless ; and Ellen felt stiff and chilly. 
However, she made her way to the fire, and having found 
the poker, she applied it gently to the Liverpool coal with 
such good effect that a bright ruddy blaze sprang up, and 
lighted the whole room. Ellen smiled at the result of her 
experiment. " That is something like," said she to herself ; 
" who says I can't poke the fire ? Now, let us see if I can't 
do something else. Bo but see how those chairs are 
standing — one wouldthink we had had a sewing-circle here — 
there, go back to your places, — that looks a little better ; 
now these curtains must come down, and I may as well 
shut the shutters too — and now this table-cloth must be 
content to hang straight, and mamma's box and the books 
must lie in their places, and not all helter-skelter. — Now, I 
wish mamma would wake up ; I should think she might I 
don't believe she is asleep either — she don't look as if she 
was." 

Ellen was right in this ; her mother's face did not weai 
the look of sleep, nor indeed of repose at all ; the lips were 
compressed, and the brow not calm. To try, however, 
whether she was asleep or no, and with the half-acknow- 
ledged intent to rouse her at all events, Ellen knelt down by 
her side, and laid her face close to her mother's on the 
pillow. But this failed to draw either word or sign. After 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



11 



a minute or two Ellen tried stroking her mother's cheek 
very gently ; — and this succeeded, for Mrs. Montgomery 
arrested the little hand as it passed her lips, and kissed it 
fondly two or three times. 

" I haven't disturbed you, mamma, have I ?" said 
Ellen. 

Without replying, Mrs. Montgomery raised herself to a 
sitting posture, and lifting both hands to her face pushed 
back the hair from her forehead and temples, with a gesture 
which Ellen knew meant that she was making up her mind 
to some disagreeable or painful effort. Then taking both 
Ellen's hands, as she still knelt before her, she gazed in her face 
with a look even more fond than usual, Ellen thought, but 
much sadder too ; though Mrs. Montgomery's cheerfulness 
had always been of a serious kind. 

" What question was that you were asking me awhile ago, 
my daughter ?" 

" I thought, mamma, I heard papa telling you this morn- 
ing, or yesterday, that he had lost that lawsuit." 

" You heard right, Ellen, — he has lost it," said Mrs. Mont- 
gomery, sadly. 

" Are you sorry, mamma ? — does it trouble you ?" 

" You know, my dear, that I am not apt to concern my- 
self overmuch about the gain or the loss of money. I 
believe my Heavenly Father will give me what is good for 
me."" 

" Then, mamma, why are you troubled ?" 

" Because, my child, I cannot carry out this principle in 
other matters, and leave quietly my all in his hands." 

'! What is the matter, dear mother ? What makes you 
look so ? 

" This lawsuit, Ellen, has brought upon us more trouble 
than I ever thought a lawsuit could — the loss of it, I mean." 
" How, mamma ?" 

" It has caused an entire change of all our plans. Your 
father says he is too poor now to stay here any longer ; anc 
he has agreed to go soon on some government or military 
business to Europe." 

" Well, mamma, that is bad, but he has been away a great 
deal before, and I am sure we were always very happy ?" 

" But, Ellen, he thinks now, and the doctor thinks too, 



12 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



that it is very important for my health that I should go with 
him." 

" Does he, mamma ? — and do you mean to go ?" 
" I am afraid I must, my dear child." 
" Not, and leave me, mother ?" 

The imploring look of mingled astonishment, terror, and 
sorrow with which Ellen uttered these words, took from her 
mother all power of replying. It was not necessary ; 
her little daughter understood only too well the silent answer 
of her eye. With a wild cry she flung her arms round her 
mother, and hiding her face in her lap gave way to a vio- 
lent burst of grief that seemed for a few moments as if it 
would rend soul and body in twain. For her passions were 
by nature very strong, and by education very imperfectly 
controlled ; and time, " that rider that breaks youth," had 
not as yet tried his hand upon her. And Mrs. Montgo- 
mery, in spite of the fortitude and calmness to which she 
had steeled herself, bent down over her, and folding her 
arms about her yielded to sorrow deeper still, and for a 
little while scarcely less violent in its expression than Ellen's 
own. 

Alas ! she had too good reason. She knew that the 
chance of her ever returning to shield the little creature who 
was nearest her heart from the future evils and snares of life 
was very, very small. She had at first absolutely refused 
to leave Ellen, when her husband proposed it ; declaring that 
she would rather stay with her and die than take the chance 
of recovery at such a cost. But her physician assured her 
she could not live long without a change of climate ; Cap- 
tain Montgomery urged that it was better to submit to a 
temporary separation, than to cling obstinately to her child 
for a few months and then leave her forever ; said he must 
himself go speedily to France, and that now was her best 
opportunity ; assuring her however that his circumstances 
would not permit him to take Ellen along, but that she 
would be secure of a happy home with his sister during her 
mother's absence ; and to the pressure of argument Captain 
Montgomery added the weight of authority — insisting on her 
compliance. Conscience also asked Mrs. Montgomery whe- 
ther she had a right to neglect any chance of life that was 
offered her ; and at last she yielded to the combined influ- 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



13 



ence of motives no one of which would have had power suffi- 
cient to move her, and though with a secret consciousness it 
would be in vain, she consented to do as her friends wished. 
And it was for Ellen's sake she did it after all. 

Nothing but necessity had given her the courage to open 
the matter to her little daughter. She had foreseen 
and endeavored to prepare herself for Ellen's anguish ; but 
nature was too strong for her, and they clasped each other in 
a convulsive embrace while tears fell like rain. 

It was some minutes before Mrs. Montgomery recollected 
herself, and then though she struggled hard she could not 
immediately regain her composure. But Ellen's deep sobs 
at length fairly alarmed her ; she saw the necessity, for both 
their sakes, of putting a stop to this state of violent excite- 
ment ; self-command was restored at once. 

" Ellen ! Ellen ! listen to me," she said ; " my child, — 
this is not right. Remember, my darling, who it is that 
brings this sorrow upon us — though we must sorrow, we 
must not rebel." 

Ellen sobbed more gently ; but that and the mute pres- 
sure of her arms was her only answer. 

" You will hurt both yourself and me, my daughter, if 
you cannot command yourself. Remember, dear Ellen, God 
sends no trouble upon his children but in love ; and though 
we cannot see how, he will no doubt make all this work for 
our good." 

"I know it, dear mother," sobbed Ellen, " but it's just 
as hard !" 

Mrs. Montgomery's own heart answered so readily to the 
truth of Ellen's words that for the moment she could not 
speak. 

"Try, my daughter," she said after a pause, — "try to 
compose yourself. I am afraid you will make me worse, 
Ellen, if you cannot, — I am indeed." 

• Ellen had plenty of faults, but amidst them all love to 
her mother was the strongest feeling her heart knew. It had 
power enough now to move her as nothing else could have 
done ; and exerting all her self-command, of which she had 
sometimes a good deal, she did calm herself ; ceased sob- 
bing ; wiped her eyes ; arose from her crouching posture, 
and seating herself on the sofa by her mother, and laying her 



14 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



head on her bosom, she listened quietly to all the soothing 
words and cheerincr considerations with which Mrs. Montgom- 
ery endeavored to lead her to take a more hopeful view of the 
subject. All she could urge however had but very partial 
success, though the conversation was prolonged far into the 
evening. Ellen said little, and did not weep any more ; but 
in secret her heart refused consolation. 

Long before this the servant had brought in the tea-things. 
Nobody regarded it at the time, but the little kettle hissing 
away on the fire now by chance attracted Ellen's attention, 
and she suddenly recollected her mother had had no tea. 
To make her mother's tea was Ellen's regular business. She 
treated it as a very grave affair, and loved it as one of the 
pleasantest in the course of the day. She used in the first 
place to make sure that the kettle really boiled ; then she 
carefully poured some water into the tea-pot and rinsed it, 
both to make it clean and to make it hot ; then she knew 
exactly how much tea to put into the tiny little tea-pot, winch 
was just big enough to hold two cups of tea, and having 
poiired a very little boiling water to it, she used to set it 
by the side of the fire while she made half a slice of toast. 
How careful Ellen was about that toast ! The bread must 
not be cut too thick, nor too thin ; the fire must, if possible, 
burn clear and bright, and she herself held the bread on a 
fork, just at the right distance from the coals to get nicely 
browned without burning. When this was done to her sat- 
isfaction, (and if the first piece failed she would take another,) 
she filled up the little tea-pot from the boiling kettle, and 
proceeded to make a cup of tea. She knew, and was very 
careful to put in, just the quantity of milk and sugar that her 
mother liked ; and then she used to carry the tea and toast 
on a little tray to her mother's side, and very often held it 
Ihere for her while she eat. All this Ellen did with the zeal 
that love gives, and though the same thing was to be gone 
over every night of the year, she was never wearied. It was 
a real pleasure ; she had the greatest satisfaction in seeing 
that the little her mother could eat was prepared for her in 
the nicest possible manner ; she knew her hands made it 
taste better ; her mother often said so. 

But this evening other thoughts had driven this important 
business quite out of poor Ellen's mind. Now, however, 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



lo 



<v T hen her eyes fell upon the little kettle, she recollected her 
mother had not had her tea, and must want it very much ; 
and silently slipping off the sofa she set about getting it as 
usual. There was no doubt this time whether the kettle 
boiled or no ; it had been hissing for an hour and more, call- 
ing as loud as it could to somebody to come and make the 
tea. So Ellen made it, and then began the toast. But she 
began to think too, as she watched it, how few more times 
she would be able to do so — how soon her pleasant tea-mak- 
ings would be over — and the desolate feeling of separation 
began to come upon her before the time. These thoughts 
w r ere too much for poor Ellen ; the thiek teal's gathered so 
fast she could not see what she was doing ; and she had no 
more than just turned the slice of bread on the fork when 
the sickness of heart quite overcame her ; she could not go 
on. Toast and fork and all dropped from her hand into the 
ashes ; and rushing to her mother's side, who was now lying 
down again, and throwing herself upon her, she burst into 
another fit of sorrow ; not so violent as the former, but with 
a touch of hopelessness in it which went yet more to her 
mother's heart. Passion in the first said, " I cannot ;" des- 
pair now seemed to say, " I must." 

But Mrs. Montgomery was too exhausted to either share 
or soothe Ellen's agitation. She lay in suffering silence ; 
till after some time she said faintly, " Ellen, my love, 1 
cannot bear this much longer." 

Ellen was immediately brought to herself by these words. 
She arose, sorry and ashamed that she should have given occa- 
sion for them; and tenderly kissing her mother, assured her 
most sincerely and resolutely that she would not do so again. 
In a few minutes she was calm enough to finish making the 
tea, and having toasted another piece of bread, she brought 
it to her mother. Mrs. Montgomery swallowed a cup of tea, 
but no toast could be eaten that night. 

Both remained silent and quiet awhile after this, till the 
clock struck ten. " You had better go to bed, my daughter," 
said Mrs. Montgomery. 

" I will, mamma." 

" Do you think you can read me a little before you go ?" 
" Yes, indeed, mamma ;" and Ellen brought the book ; 
" where shall I read ?" 



16 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



"The twenty-third psalm." 

Ellen began it, and went through it steadily and slowly, 
though her voice quavered a little. 

" ' The Lord is my Shepherd ; I shall not want.' 

" ' He maketh me to lie down in green pastures ; He lead- 
eth me beside the still waters.' 

" ' He restore th my soul ; He leadeth me in the paths of 
righteousness for his name's sake.' 

" 1 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of 
death, I will fear no evil ; lor Thou art with me ; thy rod 
and thy staff they comfort me,' 

" ' Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of 
mine enemies ; Thou anointest my head with oil ; my cup 
runneth over.' 

" ' Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days 
of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.' " 

Long before she had finished Ellen's eyes were full, and 
her heart too. " If I only could feel these words as mamma 
does !" she said to herself. She did not dare look up till 
the traces of tears had passed away ; then she saw that her 
mother was asleep. Those first sweet words had fallen like 
balm upon the sore heart ; and mind and body had instantly 
found rest together. 

Ellen breathed the lightest possible kiss upon her forehead, 
and stole quietly out of the room to her own little bed. 



CHAPTER II. 



Not all the whispers that the soft winds utter 

Speak earthly things — 
There rningleth there, sometimes, a gentle flutter 

Of angel's wings. 

Amy Lathrop. 

Sorrow and excitement made Ellen's eyelids heavy, and 
she slept late on the following morning. The great dressing- 
bell waked her. She started up with a confused notion that 
something was the matter ; there was a weight on her heart 
that was very strange to it. A moment was enough to 
bring it all back ; and she threw herself again on her pillow, 
yielding helplessly to the grief she had twice been obliged to 
control the evening before. Yet love was stronger than 
grief still, and she was careful to allow no sound to escape 
her that could reach the ears of her mother, who slept in 
the next room. Her resolve was firm to grieve her no more 
with useless expressions of sorrow ; to keep it to herself as 
much as possible. But this very thought that she must keep 
it to herself, gave an edge to poor Ellen's grief, and the con- 
vulsive clasp of her little arms round the pillow plainly 
showed that it needed none. 

The breakfast-bell again startled her, and she remembered 
she must not be too late down stairs, or her mother might 
inquire and find out the reason. " I will not trouble moth- 
er — I will not — I will not," she resolved to herself as she 
got out of bed, though the tears fell faster as she said so. 
Dressing was sad work to Ellen to-day ; it went on very 
heavily. Tears dropped into the water as she stooped her 
head to the basin ; and she hid her face in the towel to cry, 
instead of making the ordinary use of it. But the usual du- 
ties were dragged through at last, and she went to the 
2* 



18 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



window. " I'll not go down till papa is gone," she thought, 
"he'll ask me what is the matter with my eyes." 

Ellen opened the window. The rain was over ; the lovely 
light of a fair September morning was beautifying everything 
it shone upon. Ellen had been accustomed to amuse her- 
self a good deal at this window, though nothing was to be 
seen from it but an ugly city prospect of back walls of houses, 
with the yards belonging to them, and a bit of narrow street. 
But she had watched the people that showed themselves at 
the windows, and the children that played in the yards, and 
the women that went to the pumps, till she had become pretty 
well acquainted with the neighborhood ; and though they 
were for the most part dingy, dirty, and disagreeable — wo- 
men, children, houses, and all — she certainly had taken a 
good deal of interest in their proceedings. It was all gone 
now. She could not bear to look at them ; she felt as if it 
made her sick ; and turning away her eyes she lifted them 
to the bright sky above her head, and gazed into its clear 
depth of blue till she almost forgot that there was such a 
thing as a city in the world. Little white clouds were chas- 
ing across it, driven by the fresh wind that was blowing 
away Ellen's hair from her face, and cooling her hot cheeks. 
That wind could not have been long in coming from the place 
of woods and flowers, it was so sweet still. Ellen looked 
till, she didn't know why, she felt calmed and soothed, — as if 
somebody was saying to her softly, " Cheer up, my child, cheer 
up ; — things are not as bad as they might be : — things will be 
better." Her attention was attracted at length by voices be- 
low ; she looked down, and saw there, in one of the yards, 
a poor deformed child, whom she had often noticed before, and 
always with sorrowful interest. Eesides his bodily infirmity, 
he had a further claim on her sympathy, in having lost his 
mother within a few months. Ellen's heart was easily touch- 
ed this morning ; she felt for him very much. " Poor, poor 
little fellow !" she thought ; " he's a great deal worse off 
than I am. Mis mother is dead ; mine is only going away 
for a few months — not forever — oh, what a difference! and 
then the joy of coming back again !" poor Ellen was weep- 
ing already at the thought — " and 1 will do, oh, how much ! 
while she is gone — I'll do more than she can possibly expect 
from me — I'll astonish her — I'll delight her — I'll work harder 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



ID 



than ever I did in my life before — I'll mend all my faults, 
and give her so much pleasure ! But oh ! if she only needn't 
go away ! Oh, mamma !" Tears of mingled sweet and bitter 
were poured out fast, but the bitter had the largest share. 

The breakfast-table was still standing, and her father gone, 
when Ellen went down stairs. Mrs. Montgomery welcomed 
her with her usual quiet smile, and held outlier hand. Ellen 
tried to smile in answer, but she was glad to hide her face 
in her mother's bosom ; and the long close embrace Vas too 
close and too long ; — it told of sorrow as well as love ; and 
tears fell from the eyes of each that the other did not see. 

** Need I go to school to-day, mamma ?" whispered Ellen. 

" No ; I spoke to your father about that ; you shall not 
go any more ; we will be together now while we can." 

Ellen wanted to ask how long that would be, but could 
not make up her mind to it. 

* Sit down, daughter, and take some breakfast." 

w Have you done, mamma ?" 

*' No ; I waited for you." 

" Thank you, dear mamma," with another embrace, " how 
good you are ; but I don't think I want any." 

They drew their chairs to the table, but it was plain 
neither had much heart to eat ; although Mrs. Montgomery 
with her own hands laid on Ellen's plate half of the little bird 
that had been broiled for her own breakfast. The half was 
too much for each of them. 

" What made you so late this morning, daughter ?" 

" I got up late, in the first place, mamma ; and then I was 
a long time at the window." 

" At the window ! were you examining into your neigh- 
bor's affairs as usual ?" said Mrs. Montgomery, surprised that 
it should have been so. 

" Oh, no, mamma, I didn't look at them 'at all — except 
poor little Billy ; — I was looking at the sky." 

" And what did you see there that pleased you so much V 

" I don't know, mamma ; it looked so lovely and peaceful — 
that pure blue spread over my head, and the little white 
clouds flying across it — I loved to look at it ; it seemed to 
do me good." 

" Could you look at it, Ellen, without thinking of Him 
who made it?" 



20 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



"No, mamma," said Ellen, ceasing her breakfast, and now 
speaking with difficulty ; 11 1 did think of Him ; perhaps that 
was the reason." 

" And what did you think of Him, daughter ?" 

" I hoped, mamma — I felt — I thought — He would take 
care of me," said Ellen, bursting into tears, and throwing hei 
arms again round her mother. 

" He will, my dear daughter, he will if you will only put 
your trust in Him, Ellen." 

Ellen struggled hard to get back her composure, and aftei 
a few minutes succeeded. 

" Mamma, will you tell me what you mean exactly by my 
'putting my trust' in Him." 

" Don't you trust me, Ellen ?" 

" Certainly, mamma." 

" How do you trust me ? — in what ?" 

" Why mamma : — in the first place I trust every word you 
say — entirely — I know nothing could be truer ; if you were to 
tell me black is white, mamma, I should think my eyes had 
been mistaken. Then everything you tell or advise me to 
do, I know it is right, perfectly. And I always feel safe 
when you are near me, because I know you'll take care of 
me. And I am glad to think I belong to you, and you have 
the management of me entirely, and I needn't manage my- 
self, because I know I can't ; and if I could, I'd rather you 
would, mamma." 

"My daughter, it is just so ; it is just so : that I wish 
you to trust in God. He is truer, wiser, stronger, kinder, by 
far, than I am, even if I could be always with you ; and what 
will you do when I am away from you ? — and what would 
you do, my child, if I were to be parted from you for ever ?" 

" 0, mamma !" said Ellen, bursting into tears, and clasping 
her arms round her mother again — " dear mamma, don't 
talk about it !" 

Her mother fondly returned her caress, and one or two 
tears fell on Ellen's head as she did so, but that was all, 
and she said no more. Feeling severely the effects of the 
excitement and anxiety of the preceding day and night, she 
now stretched herself on the sofa and lay quite still. Ellen 
placed herself on a little bench at her side, with her back to 
the head of the sofa, that her mother might not see her face ; 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



21 



and possessing herself of one of her hands, sat with her little 
head resting upon her mother, as quiet as she. They re- 
mained thus for two or three hours, without speaking ; ana 
Mrs. Montgomery was part of the time slumbering ; but now 
and then a tear ran down the side of the sofa and dropped 
on the carpet where Ellen sat ; and now and then her lips 
were softly pressed to the hand she held, as if they would 
grow there. 

The doctor's entrance at last disturbed them. Doctor 
Green found his patient decidedly worse than he had reason 
to expect ; and his sagacious eye had not passed back and 
forth many times between the mother and daughter before 
he saw how it was. He made no remark upon it, however, 
but continued for some moments a pleasant chatty conver- 
sation which he* had begun with Mrs. Montgomery. He 
then called Ellen to him ; he had rather taken a fancy to her. 

" Well, Miss Ellen," he said, rubbing one of her hands in 
his ; " what do you think of this fine scheme of mine ?" 

" What scheme, sir ?" 

" Why, this scheme of sending this sick lady over the 
water to get well ; what do you think of it, eh ?" 

" Will it make her quite well, do you think, sir ?" asked 
Ellen earnestly. 

" 1 Will it make her well !' to be sure it will ; do you think 
I don't know better than to send people all the way across 
the ocean for nothing? Who do you think would want 
Dr. Green if he sent people on wild-goose chases in that 
fashion?" 

" Will she have to stay long there before she is cured, sir ?" 
asked Ellen. 

u 0, that I can't tell ; that depends entirely on circum- 
stances — perhaps longer, perhaps shorter. But now, Miss 
Ellen, I've got a word of business to say to you ; you know 
you agreed to be my little nurse. Mrs. Nurse, this lady 
whom I put under your care the other day, is'nt quite as 
well as she ought to be this morning ; I'm afraid you haven't 
taken proper care of her ; she looks to me as if she had 
been too much excited, I've a notion she has been secretly 
taking half a bottle of wine, or reading some furious kind ot 
a novel, or something of that sort — you understand ? — Now 
mind, Mrs. Nurse," said the doctor, changing his tone — " she 



22 



Till, WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



must not be excited — you must take care that she is not — it - 
isn't good for her. You mustn't let her talk much, or laugh 
much, or cry at all, on any account ; she mustn't be worried 
in the least — will you remember? Now you know what I 
shall expect of you ; you must be very careful — if that piece 
of toast of your's should chance to get burned, one of these 
fine evenings I won't answer for the consequences. Good 
bye," said he, shaking Ellen's hand — "you needn't look 
sober about it, — all you have to do is to let your mamma be 
as much like an oyster as possible ; — you understand ? Good- 
bye." And Dr. Green took his leave. 

" Poor woman !" said the doctor to himself as he went 
down stairs (he was a humane man). " I wonder if she'll 
live till she gets to the other side ! That's a nice little girl 
too. Poor child ! poor child !" 

Both mother and daughter silently acknowledged the 
justice of the doctor's advice and determined to follow it. 
By common consent, as it seemed, each for several days 
avoided bringing the subject of sorrow to the other's mind ; 
though no doubt it was constantly present to both. It was 
not spoken of — indeed, little of any kind was spoken of, but 
that never. Mrs. Montgomery was doubtless employed dur- 
ing this interval in preparing for what she believed was 
before her ; endeavoring to resign herself and her child to 
Him in whose hands they were, and struggling to withdraw 
her affections from a world which she had a secret misgiving 
she was fast leaving. As for Ellen, the doctor's warning 
had served to strengthen the resolve she had already made, 
that she would not distress her mother with the sight of her 
sorrow ; and she kept it, as far as she could. She did not 
let her mother see but very few tears, and those were quiet 
ones ; though she drooped her head like a withered flower, 
and went about the house with an air of submissive sad- 
ness that tried her mother sorely. But when she was 
alone, and knew no one could see, sorrow had its way ; and 
then there were sometimes agonies of grief that would almost 
have broken Mrs. Montgomery's resolution had she known 
them. 

This, however, could not last. Ellen was a child, and of 
most buoyant and elastic spirit naturally ; it was not for one 
sorrow, however great, to utterly crush her. It would have 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



23 



taken years to do that. Moreover, she entertained not the 
slightest hope of being able by any means to alter her 
father's will. She regarded the dreaded evil as an inevi- 
table thing. ^-But though she was at first overwhelmed with 
sorrow, and for some days evidently pined under it sadly, 
hope at length would come back to her little heart ; and no 
sooner in again hope began to smooth the roughest, and 
soften the hardest, and touch the dark spots with light, in 
Ellen's future. The thoughts which had just passed through 
her head that first morning as she stood at her window, 
now came back again. Thoughts of wonderful improvement 
to be made during her mother's absence ; — of unheard-of 
efforts to learn and amend, which should all be crowned with 
success ; and above all, thoughts of that " coming home," 
when all these attainments and accomplishments should be 
displayed to her mother's delighted eyes, and her exertions 
receive their long desired reward ; — they made Ellen's heart 
beat, and her eyes swim, and even brought a smile once more 
upon her lips. Mrs. Montgomery was rejoiced to see the 
change ; she felt that as much time had already been given 
to sorrow as they could afford to lose, and she had not 
known exactly how to proceed. Ellen's amended looks and 
spirits greatly relieved her. 

" What are you thinking about, Ellen ?" said she, one 
morning. 

Ellen was sewing, and while busy at her work her mother 
had two or three times observed a slight smile pass over her 
face. Ellen looked up, still smiling, and answered, "0, mamma, 
I was thinking of different things — things that I mean to do 
while you are gone." 

" And what are these things?" inquired her mother. 

" 0, mamma, it wouldn't do to tell you beforehand ; I 
want to surprise you with them when you come back." 

A slight shudder passed over Mrs. Montgomery's frame, 
but Ellen did not see it, Mrs. Montgomery was silent. Ellen 
presently introduced another subject. 

" Mamma, what kind of a person is my aunt ?" 

" I do not know ; I have never seen her." 

" How has that happened, mamma ?" 

" Your aunt has always lived in a remote country town, 
and I have been very much confined to two or three cities, 



24 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



and your father's long and repeated absences made travelling 
impossible to me." 

Ellen thought, but she didn't say it, that it was very odd 
her father should not sometimes, when he was in the country, 
have gone to see his relations, and taken her mother with 
him. 

" What is my aunt's name, mamma ?" 
" I think you must have heard that already, Ellen ; Fortune 
Emerson." 

" Emerson ! I thought she was papa's sister ?" 
" So she is." 

" Then how comes her name not to be Montgomery ?" 
" She is only his half-sister ; the daughter of his mother, 
not the daughter of his father." 

" I am very sorry for that," said Ellen gravely. 
" Why, my daughter ?" 

" I am afraid she will not be so likely to love me." 

" You mustn't think so my child. Her loving or not 
loving you will depend solely and entirely upon yourself, 
Ellen. Don't forget that. If you are a good child, and 
make it your daily care to do your duty, she cannot help 
liking you, be she what she may ; and on the other hand, if 
she have all the will in the world to love you she cannot do 
it unless you will let her — it all depends on your behaviour." 

" Oh, mamma, I can't help wishing dear aunt JBessy was 
alive, and I was going to her." 

Many a time the same wish had passed through Mrs. 
Montgomery's mind ! But she kept down her rising heart, 
and went on calmly. 

" You must not expect, my child, to find any body as 
indulgent as I am, or as ready to overlook and excuse your 
faults. It would be unreasonable to look for it; and you 
must not think hardly of your aunt when you find she is not 
your mother ; but then it will be your own fault if she does 
not love you, in time, truly and tenderly. See that von 
render her all the respect and obedience you could render 
me ; that is your bounden duty ; she will stand in my place 
while she has the care of you, remember that, Ellen ; and 
remember too that she will deserve more gratitude at your 
bands for showing you kindness than I do, because she can- 
not have the same feeling of love to make trouble easy." 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



25 



" 0, no, mamma," said Ellen, " I don't think so ; it's that 
very feeling of love that I am grateful for ; I don't care a 
fig for anything people do for me without that." 

" But you can make her love you, Ellen, if you try." 

" Well, I'll try mamma." 

" And don't be discouraged. Perhaps you may be disap- 
pointed in first appearances, but never mind that ; have 
patience; and let your motto be, (if there's any occasion,) 
overcome evil with good. Will you put that among the 
things you mean to do while I am gone ?" said Mrs. Mont- 
gomery with a smile. 

" I'll try, dear mamma." 

" You will succeed if you try dear, never fear ; if you 
apply yourself in your trying to the only unfailing source of 
wisdom and strength ; to Him without whom you can do 
nothing." 

There was silence for a little. 

" What sort of a place is it where my aunt lives?" asked 
Ellen. 

" Your father says it is a very pleasant place ; he says 
the country is beautiful, and very healthy, and full of charming 
walks and rides. You have never lived in the country ; I 
think you will enjoy it very much." 

" Then it is not a town ? " said Ellen. 

" No ; it is not far from the town of Thirlwall, but your 
aunt lives in the open country. Your father says she is a 
capital housekeeper, and that you will learn more, and be in 
all respects a great deal happier and better off than you 
would be in a boarding-school here or anywhere." 

Ellen's heart secretly questioned the truth of this last as- 
sertion very much. 

" Is there any school near ? " she asked. 

" Your father says there was an excellent one in Thirlwall 
when he was there." 

" Mamma," said Ellen, " I think the greatest pleasure I 
shall have while you are gone will be writing to you. I have 
been thinking of it a good deal. I mean to tell you every- 
thing — absolutely everything, mamma. You know there will 
be nobody for me to talk to as I do to you ;" Ellen's words 
came out with difficulty ; " and when I feel badly, I shall just 



26 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



shut myself up and write to you." She hid her face in her 
mother's lap. 

" I count upon it, my dear daughter ; it will make quite as 
much the pleasure of my life, Ellen, as of yours." 

" But then, mother," said Ellen, brushing away the tears 
from her eyes, " it will be so long before my letters can get 
to you ! The things I want you to know right away, you 
won't know perhaps in a month." 

" That's no matter, daughter ; they will be just as good 
when they do get to me. Never think of that ; write every 
day, and all manner of things that concern you, — just as 
particularly as if you were speaking to me." 

" And you'll write to me too, mamma ? " 

" Indeed I will — when I can. But Ellen, you say that 
when I am away and cannot hear you, there will be nobody 
to supply my place. Perhaps it will be so indeed ; but then, 
my daughter, let it make you seek that friend who is never 
far away nor out of hearing. Draw nigh to God, and he will 
draw nigh to you. You know he has said of his children : 
1 Before they call, I will answer ; and while they are yet 
speaking, I will hear.' " 

" But, mamma," said Ellen, her eyes filling instantly, — 
" you know he is not my friend in the same way that he is 
yours." And hiding her face again, she added, " Oh, I wish 
he was ! " 

" You know the way to make him so, Ellen. He is willing ; 
it only rests with you. 0, my child, my child ! if losing 
your mother might be the means of finding you that better 
friend, I should be quite willing — and glad to go — for ever." 

There was silence, only broken by Ellen's sobs. Mrs. 
Montgomery's voice had trembled, and her face was now 
covered with her hands ; but she was not weeping ; she was 
seeking a better relief w r here it had long been her habit to 
seek and find it. Both soon resumed their usual composure, 
and the employments which had been broken off, but neither 
chose to renew the conversation. Dinner, sleeping, and 
company, prevented their having another opportunity during 
the rest of the day. 

But when evening came, they were again left to themselves. 
Captain Montgomery was away, which indeed w T as the case 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



27 



most of the time ; friends had taken their departure ; the 
curtains were down, the lamp lit, the little room looked cozy 
and comfortable ; the servant had brought the tea-things, and 
withdrawn, and the mother and daughter were happily alone. 
Mrs. Montgomery knew that such occasions were numbered, 
and fast drawing to an end, and she felt each one to be very 
precious. She now lay on her couch, with her face par- 
tially shaded, and her eyes fixed upon her little daughter, 
who was preparing the tea. She watched her, with thoughts 
and feelings not to be spoken, as the little figure went back 
and forward between the table and the fire, and the light 
shining full upon her busy face, showed that Ellen's whole 
soul was in her beloved duty. Tears would fall as she looked, 
and were not wiped away ; but when Ellen, having finished 
her work, brought with a satisfied face the little tray of tea 
and toast to her mother, there was no longer any sign of them 
left ; Mrs. Montgomery arose with her usual kind smile, to 
shoAv her gratitude by honoring as far as possible what Ellen 
had provided. 

" You have more appetite to-night, mamma." 

" I am very glad, daughter," replied her mother, " to see 
that you have made up your mind to bear patiently this evil 
that has come upon us. I am glad for your sake, and I am 
glad for mine ; and I am glad too because we have a great 
deal to do and no time to lose in doing it." 

" What have we so much to do, mamma? " said Ellen. 

" O, many things," said her mother ; " you will see. But 
now, Ellen, if there is anything you wish to talk to me about, 
any question you want to ask, anything you would like par- 
ticularly to have, or to have done for you, — I want you to tell 
it me as soon as possible, now while we can attend to it, — for 
by and by perhaps we shall be hurried." 

" Mamma," said Ellen, with brightening eyes, " there is 
one thing I have thought of that I should like to have, shall 
I tell it you now ? " 

" Yes." 

" Mamma, you know I shall want to be writing a great 
deal ; wouldn't it be a good thing for me to have a little box 
with some pens in it, and an inkstand, and some paper and 
wafers ? Because, mamma, you know I shall be among 
si rangers, at first, and I shan't feel like asking them for these 



28 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



things as often as I shall want them, and may be they 
wouldn't want to let me have them if I did." 

" I have thought of that already, daughter," said Mrs. 
Montgomery, with a smile and a sigh. " I will certainly take 
care that you are well provided in that respect before you go." 

" How am I to go, mamma ? " 

" What do you mean ? " 

" I mean, who will go with me ? You know I can't go 
alone, mamma." 

" No, my daughter, I'll not send you alone. But your 
father says it is impossible for him to take the journey at 
present, and it is yet more impossible for me. There is no 
help for it, daughter, but we must intrust you to the care of 
some friend going that way ; — but he that holds the winds and 
waters in the hollow of his hand can take care of you without 
any of our help, and it is to his keeping above all that I 
shall commit you." 

Ellen made no remark, and seemed much less surprised 
and troubled than her mother had expected. In truth, the 
greater evil swallowed up the less. Parting from her mother, 
and for so long a time, it seemed to her comparatively a 
matter of little importance with whom she went, or how, or 
where. Except for this, the taking a long journey under a 
stranger's care would have been a dreadful thing to her. 

" Do you know yet who it will be that I shall go with, 
mamma ? " 

" Not yet ; but it will be necessary to take the first good 
opportunity, for I cannot go till I have seen you off ; and it 
is thought very desirable that I should get to sea before the 
severe weather comes." 

It was with a pang that these words were spoken, and 
heard, but neither showed it to the other. 

" It has comforted me greatly, my dear child, that you 
have shown yourself so submissive and patient under this 
affliction. I should scarcely have been able to endure it if 
you had not exerted self-control. You have behaved beau- 
tifully." 

This was almost too much for poor Ellen. It required her 
utmost stretch of self-control to keep within any bounds of 
composure ; and for some moments her flushed cheek, qui- 
vering lip, and heaving bosom, told what a tumult hei 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



29 



mother's words had raised. Mrs. Montgomery saw she had 
gone too far, and willing to give both Ellen and herself time 
to recover, she laid her head on the pillow again and closed 
her eyes. Many thoughts coming thick upon one another 
presently filled her mind, and half an hour had passed before 
she again recollected what she had meant to say. She 
opened her eyes ; Ellen was sitting at a little distance, staring 
into the fire ; evidently as deep in meditation as her mother 
had been. 

" Ellen," said Mrs. Montgomery, " did you ever fancy 
what kind of a Bible you would like to have ? " 

" A Bible ! mamma," said Ellen, with sparkling eyes, " do 
you mean to give me a Bible ? " 

Mrs. Montgomery smiled. 

" But, mamma," said Ellen gently, " I thought you couldn't 
afford it ?" 

" I have said so, and truly," answered her mother; "and 
hitherto you have been able to use mine, but I will not leave 
you now without one. I will find ways and means," said 
Mrs. Montgomery, smiling again. 

"0 mamma, thank you!" said Ellen, delighted; "how 
glad I shall be ! " And after a pause of consideration, she 
added, " Mamma, I never thought much about what sort of a 
one 1 should like, couldn't I tell better if I were to see the 
different kinds in the store ? " 

" Perhaps so. Well, the first day that the weather is fine 
enough and I am well enough, I will go out with you and 
we will see about it." 

" I am afraid Dr. Green won't let you, mamma." 

" I shall not ask him. I want to get you a Bible, and 
some other things that I will not leave you without, and 
nobody can it do but myself. I shall go, if I possibly can." 

" What other things, mamma? " asked Ellen, very much 
interested in the subject. 

" I don't think it will do to tell you to-night," said Mrs. 
Montgomery, smiling. I foresee that you and I should be 
kept awake quite too late if we were to enter upon it just 
now. We will leave it till to-morrow. Now read to me, 
love, and then to bed." 

Ellen obeyed ; and went to sleep with brighter visions 
dancing before her eyes than had been the case for some time 



CHAPTER III. 



Sweetheart, we shall be rich ere we depart, 

If fairings come thus plentifully in. — Shakspeare. 

Ellen had to wait some time for the desired fine day. The 
squinoctial storms Avould have their way as usual, and Ellen 
thought they were longer than ever this year. But after 
many stormy days had tried her patience, there was at 
length a sudden change, both without and within doors. The 
clouds had done their work for that time, and fled away be- 
fore a strong northerly wind, leaving the sky bright and fair. 
And Mrs. Montgomery's deceitful disease took a turn, and for 
a little space raised the hopes of her friends. All were re- 
joicing but two persons : Mrs. Montgomery was not deceived, 
neither was the doctor. The shopping project was kept a 
profound secret from him and from everybody except Ellen. 

Ellen watched now for a favorable day. Every morning 
as soon as she rose she went to the window to see what was 
the look of the weather; and about a week after the change 
above noticed, she was greatly pleased one morning, on open- 
ing her window as usual, to find the air and sky promising 
all that could be desired. It was one of those beautiful days 
in the end of September, that sometimes herald October before 
it arrives, — cloudless, brilliant, and breathing balm. " This 
will do," said Ellen to herself, in great satisfaction. " I think 
this will do ; I hope mamma will think so." 

Hastily dressing herself, and a good deal excited already, 
she ran down stairs ; and after the morning salutations, ex- 
amined her mother's looks with as much anxiety as she had 
just done those of the weather. All was satisfactory there 
also ; and Ellen eat her breakfast with an excellent appetite ; 
but she said not a word of the intended expedition till her 
father should be gone. She contented herself with strength- 
ening her hopes by making constant fresh inspections of the 



THE WtDE, WIDE WORLD. 



33 



weather and her mother's countenance alternately ; and her 
eyes returning from the window on one of these excursions 
and meeting her mother's face, saw a smile there which said 
all she wanted. Breakfast went on more vigorously than 
ever. But after breakfast it seemed to Ellen that her father 
never would go away. He took the newspaper, an uncom- 
mon thing for him, and pored over it most perseveringly, 
while Ellen was in a perfect fidget of impatience. Her 
mother, seeing the state she was in, and taking pity on her, 
sent her up stairs to do some little matters of business in her 
own room. These Ellen despatched with all possible zeal and 
speed ; and coming down again found her father gone and 
her mother alone. She flew to kiss her in the first place, and 
then make the inquiry, " Don't you think to-day will do, 
mamma?" 

" As fine as possible, daughter ; we could not have a 
better; but I must wait till the doctor has been here." 

** Mamma," said Ellen, after a pause, making a great effort 
of self-denial, " I am afraid you oughtn't to go out to get 
these things for me. Pray don't, mamma, if you think it 
will do you harm. I would rather go without them ; indeed 
I would." 

" Never mind that, daughter," said Mrs. Montgomery 
kissing her ; " I am bent upon it ; it would be quite as much 
of a disappointment to me as to you not to go. We have a 
lovely day for it, and we will take our time and walk slowly, 
and we haven't far to go either. But I must let Dr. Green 
make his visit first." 

To fill up the time till he came Mrs. Montgomery employed 
Ellen in reading to her as usual. And this morning's read- 
ing Ellen long after remembered. Her mother directed her 
to several passages in different parts of the Bible that speak 
of heaven and its enjoyments ; and though, when she began, 
her own little heart was full of excitement, in view of the 
day's plans, and beating with hope and pleasure, the sublime 
beauty of the words and thoughts, as she went on, awed her 
into quiet, and her mother's manner at length turned her 
attention entirely from herself. Mrs. Montgomery was lying 
on the sofa, and for the most part listened in silence, with her 
eyes closed ; but sometimes saying a word or two that mado 
Ellen feel how deep was the interest her mother had in the 



32 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



things she read of, and how pure and strong the pleasure she 
was even now taking in them ; and sometimes there was a 
smile on her face that Ellen scarce liked to see ; it gave her 
an indistinct feeling that her mother would not be long away 
from that heaven to which she seemed already to belong. 
Ellen had a sad consciousness too that she had no part with 
her mother in this matter. She could hardly go on. She 
came to that beautiful passage in the seventh of Revelation : — 

*f And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are 
these which are arrayed in white robes ? and whence came 
they ? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he 
said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribu- 
lation, and have washed their robes and made them white in 
the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne 
of God, and serve him day and night in his temple : and he 
that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They 
shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more ; neither shall 
the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which 
is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead 
them unto living fountains of waters : and God shall wipe away 
all tears from their eyes." 

With difficulty, and a husky voice, Ellen got through it. 
Lifting then her eyes to her mother's face, she saw again the 
same singular sweet smile. Ellen felt that she could not read 
another word ; to her great relief the door opened, and Dr. 
Green came in. His appearance changed the whole course of 
her thoughts. All that was grave or painful fled quickly 
away ; Ellen's head was immediately full again of what had 
filled it before she began to read. 

As soon as the doctor had retired and was fairly out of 
hearing, " Now, mamma, shall we go ?" said Ellen. " You 
needn't stir, mamma ; I'll bring all your things to you, and 
put them on ; may I, mamma ? then you won't be a bit tired 
before you set out." 

Her mother assented ; and with a great deal of tenderness 
and a great deal of eagerness, Ellen put on her stockings and 
shoes, arranged her hair, and did all that she could toward 
changing her dress, and putting on her bonnet and shawl ; 
and greatly delighted she was when the business was accom- 
plished. 

" Now, mamma, you look like yourself; I haven't seen you 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



33 



look so well this great while. I'm so glad you're going out 
again," said Ellen, putting her arms round her ; "I do be- 
lieve it will do you good. Now, mamma, I'll go and get 
ready; I'll be very quick about it; you shan't' have to wait 
long fo:" me." 

In a few minutes the two set forth from the house. The 
day was as fine as could be ; there was no wind, there was 
no dust ; the sun was not oppressive ; and Mrs. Montgomery 
did feel refreshed and strengthened during the few steps they 
had to take to their first stopping-place. 

It was a jeweller's store. Ellen had never been in one be- 
fore in her life, and her first feeling on entering was of dazzled 
wonderment at the glittering splendours around ; this was 
presently forgotten in curiosity to know what her mother 
could possibly want there. She soon discovered that she had 
come to sell and not to buy. Mrs. Montgomery drew a ring 
from her finger, and after a little chaffering parted with it to 
the owner of the store for eighty dollars, being about three- 
quarters of its real value. The money was counted out, and 
she left the store. 

" Mamma," said Ellen in a low voice, " wasn't that grand- 
mamma's ring, which I thought you loved so much ? " 

" Yes, I did love it Ellen, but I love you better." 

" 0, mamma, I am very sorry !" said Ellen. 

" You need not be sorry, daughter. Jewels in themselves 
are the merest nothings to me ; and as for the rest, it doesn't 
matter ; I can remember my mother without any help from a 
trinket." 

There were tears however in Mrs. Montgomery's eyes, 
that showed the sacrifice had cost her something ; and there 
were tears in Ellen's that told it was not thrown away upon 
her. 

" I am sorry you should know of this," continued Mrs. 
Montgomery; "you should not if I could have helped it. 
But set your heart quite at rest, Ellen ; I assure you this use 
of my ring gives me more pleasure on the whole than any 
other I could have made of it." 

A grateful squeeze of her hand and glance into her face 
was Ellen's answer. 

Mrs. Montgomery had applied to her husband for the funds 
necessary to fit Ellen comfortably for the time they should be 
3 



THE WIDE j WIDE WORLD. 



absent ; and in answer he had given her a sum barely suffi- 
cient for her mere clothing. Mrs. Montgomery knew him 
better than to ask for a further supply, but she resolved to 
have recourse to other means to do what she had determined 
upon. Now that she was about to leave her little daughter, 
and it might be for ever, she had set her heart upon providing 
her with certain things which she thought important to her 
comfort and improvement, and which Ellen would go very 
long without if she did not give them to her, and now, Ellen 
had had very few presents in her life, and those always 
of the simplest and cheapest kind ; her mother resolved that 
in the midst of the bitterness of this time she would give her 
one pleasure, if she could ; it might be the last. 

They stopped next at a bookstore. " what a delicious 
smell of new books ! " said Ellen, as they entered. u Mamma, 
if it wasn't for one thing, I should say I never was so happy 
in my life." 

Children's books, lying in tempting confusion near the 
door, immediately fastened Ellen's eyes and attention. She 
opened one, and was already deep in the interest of it, when 
the word " Bibles" struck her ear. Mrs. Montgomery was 
desiring the shopman to show her various kinds and sizes that 
she might choose from among them. Down went Ellen's 
book, and she flew to the place, where a dozen different 
Bibles were presently displayed. Ellen's wits were ready to 
forsake her. Such beautiful Bibles she had never seen ; she 
pored in ecstacy over their varieties of type and binding, and 
was very evidently in love with them all. 

" Now, Ellen," said Mrs. Montgomery, " look and choose ; 
take your time, and see which you like best." 

It was not likely that Ellen's " time" would be a short one. 
Her mother seeing this, took a chair at a little distance to 
await patiently her decision ; and while Ellen's eyes were 
rivetted on the Bibles, her own very naturally were fixed upon 
her. In the excitement and eagerness of the moment, Ellen 
had thrown off her light bonnet, and with flushed cheek and 
sparkling eye, and a brow grave with unusual care, as though 
a nation's fate were deciding, she was weighing the compa- 
rative advantages of large, small, and middle sized ;- -black, 
blue, purple, and red ; — gilt and not gilt ; — clasp and no clasp. 
Everything but the Bibles before her Ellen had forgotten utter- 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



35 



ly ; she was deep in what was to her the most important of busi- 
ness ; she did not see the bystanders smile ; she did not know 
there were any. To her mother's eye it was a most fair sight. 
Mrs. Montgomery gazed with rising emotions of pleasure and 
pain that struggled for the mastery, but pain at last got the 
better and rose very high. " How can I give thee up ! " was 
the one thought of her heart. Unable to command herself, 
she rose and went to a distant part of the counter, where she 
seemed to be examining books ; but tears, some of the bitter- 
est she had ever shed were falling thick upon the dusty floor, 
and she felt her heart like to break. Her little daughter at 
one end of the counter had forgotten there ever was such a 
thing as sorrow in the world ; and she at the other was 
bowed beneath a weight of it that was nigh to crush her. 
But in her extremity she betook herself to that refuge she 
had never known to fail ; it did not fail her now. She 
remembered the words Ellen had been reading to her but 
that very morning, and they came like the breath of heaven 
upon the fever of her soul. " Not my will, but thine be done." 
She strove and prayed to say it, and not in vain ; and after a 
little while she was able to return to her seat. She felt that 
she had been shaken by a tempest, but she was calmer now 
than before. 

Ellen was just as she had left her, and apparently just as 
far from coming to any conclusion. Mrs. Montgomery was 
resolved to let her take her way. Presently Ellen came over 
from the counter with a large royal octavo Bible, heavy 
enough to be a good lift for her. " Mamma," said she, laying 
it on her mother's lap and opening it, " what do you think of 
that ? isn't that splendid ?" 

" A most beautiful page indeed ; is this your choice Ellen ?" 

" Well, mamma, I don't know ; — what do you think ? " 

" I think it is rather inconveniently large and heavy for 
everyday use. It is quite a weight upon my lap. I shouldn't 
like to carry it in my hands long. You would w T ant a little 
table on purpose to hold it." 

" Well, that wouldn't do at all," said Ellen, laughing ; " I 
believe you are right, mamma ; 1 wonder I didn't think of it. 
1 might have known that myself." 

She took it back ; and there followed another careful exa- 
mination of the whole stock ; and then Ellen came to her 



86 



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mother with a beautiful miniature edition in two volumes, 
gilt and clasped, and very perfect in all respects, but of 
exceeding small print. 

" I think I'll have this mamma," said she, " isn't it a beauty ? 
I could put it in my pocket, you know, and carry it anywhere 
with the greatest ease." 

" it would have one great objection to me," said Mrs. 
Montgomery, " inasmuch as I cannot possibly see to read it." 

" Cannot you, mamma ! But I can read it perfectly." 

" Well, my dear, take it ; that is, if you will make up your 
mind to put on spectacles before your time." 

" Spectacles, mamma ! I hope I shall never wear specta- 
cles." 

" What do you propose to do when your sight fails, if you 
shall live so lon^ ? " 

" Well, mamma, — if it comes to that, — but you don't ad- 
vise me then to take this little beauty ? " 

" Judge for yourself ; I think you are old enough." 

" I know what you think though, mamma, and I dare say 
you are right too ; I won't take it, though it's a pity. Well, 
I must look again." 

Mrs. Montgomery came to her help, for it was plain Ellen 
had lost the power of judging amidst so many tempting 
objects. But she presently simplified the matter by putting 
aside all that were decidedly too large, or too small, or of too 
fine print. There remained three, of moderate size and 
sufficiently large type, but different binding. " Either of these 
I think will answer your purpose nicely," said Mrs. Montgo- 
mery. 

" Then, mamma, if you please, I will have the red one. I 
like that best, because it will put me in mind of yours." 

Mrs. Montgomery could find no fault with this reason. She 
paid for the red Bible, and directed it to be sent home. 
" Shan't I carry it mamma ? " said Ellen. 

" No, you would find it in the way ; we have several things 
to do yet." 

" Have we, mamma ? I thought we only came to get a 
Bible." 

" That is enough for one day, I confess ; I am a little afraid 
your head will be turned ; but I must run the risk of it. I 
dare not lose the opportunity of this fine weather ; I may not 



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37 



have such another. I wish to have the comfort of think- 
ing, when 1 am away, that I have left you with everything 
necessary to the keeping up of good habits — everything that 
will make them pleasant and easy. I wish you to be always 
neat, and tidy, and industrious ; depending upon others as 
little as possible ; and careful to improve yourself by every 
means, and especially by writing to me. I will leave you no 
excuse, Ellen, for failing in any of these duties. I trust you 
will not disappoint me in a single particular." 

Ellen's heart was too full to speak ; she again looked up 
tearfully and pressed her mother's hand. 

" I do not expect to be disappointed, love," returned Mrs. 
Montgomery. 

They now entered a large fancy store. " What are we to 
get here, mamma ?" said Ellen. 

" A box to put your pens and paper in," said her mother, 
smiling. 

" 0, to be sure," said Ellen, " I had almost forgotten that." 
She quite forgot it a minute after. It was the first time she 
had ever seen the inside of such a store ; and the articles dis- 
played on every side completely bewitched her. From one 
thing to another she went, admiring and wondering ; in her 
wildest dreams she had never imagined such beautiful things. 
The store was fairy-land. 

Mrs. Montgomery meanwhile attended to business. Hav- 
ing chosen a neat little japanned dressing-box, perfectly plain, 
but well supplied with everything a child could w r ant in that 
line, she called Ellen from the delightful journey of discovery 
she was making round the store, and asked her what she 
thought of it. " I think it's a little beauty," said Ellen ; 
but I never saw such a place for beautiful things." 

" You think it will do then ? " said her mother. 

" For me, mamma ! You don't mean to give it to me ? 
0, mother, how good you are ! But 1 know what is the best 
way to thank you, and I'll do it. What a perfect little 
beauty ! Mamma, I'm too happy." 

" I hope not," said her mother, " for you know I haven't 
got you the box for your pens and paper yet." 

" Well, mamma, I'll try and bear it," said Ellen, laughing. 
" hut do get me the plainest little thing in the world, for 
you're giving me too much." 



38 



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Mrs. Montgomery asked to look at writing-desks, and was 
shown to another part of the store for the purpose. 
" Mamma," said Ellen, in a low tone, as they went, " you're 
not going to get me a writing-desk ?" 

" Why that is the best kind of box for holding writing 
materials," said her mother, smiling ; — " don't you think so ?" 

" 1 don't know what to say !" exclaimed Ellen. " I can't 
thank you, mamma ; — I haven't any words to do it. I think 
1 shall go crazy." 

She was truly overcome with the weight of happiness. 
Words failed her, and tears came instead. 

From among a great many desks of ail descriptions, Mrs. 
Montgomery with some difficulty succeeded in choosing one 
to her mind. It was of mahogany, not very large, but tho- 
roughly well made and finished, and very convenient and 
perfect in its internal arrangements. Ellen was speech- 
less ; occasional looks at her mother, and deep sighs, were 
all she had now to offer. The desk was quite empty. 
" Ellen," said her mother, " do you remember the furniture of 
Miss Allen's desk, that you were so pleased with a while ago ?" 

" Perfectly, mamma ; 1 know all that was in it." 

" Well, then, you must prompt me if I forget anything. 
Your desk shall be furnished with everything really useful. 
Merely showy matters Ave can dispense with. Now let us 
see. — Here is a great empty place that I think wants some 
paper to fill it. Show me some of different sizes if you 
please." 

The shopman obeyed, and Mrs. Montgomery stocked the 
desk well with letter paper, large and small. Ellen looked 
on in great satisfaction. " That will do nicel} 7 ," she said ; — 
" that large paper will be beautiful whenever L am writing to 
you, mamma, you know, and the other will do for other 
times when I haven't so much to say ; though I am sure I 
don't know who there is in the world I should ever send let- 
ters to except you." 

" If there is nobody now, perhaps there will be at some 
future time," replied her mother. " I hope I shall not 
always be your only correspondent. Now what next ?" 

" Envelopes, mamma ?" 

" To be sure ; I had forgotten them. Envelopes of both 
sizes to match." 



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39 



Because, mamma, you know I might, and I certainly 
6»ail, want to write upon the fourth page of my letter, and I 
couldn't do it unless I had envelopes." 

A sufficient stock of envelopes was laid in." 

• 4 jViamma," said Ellen, " what do you think of a little note- 
paper f ' 

" Who are the notes to be written to, Ellen?" said Mrs. 
Montgomery, smiling. 

" You needn't smile, mamma ; you know, as you said, if I 
don't know now perhaps I shall by-and-by. Miss Allen's 
desk haa note-paper; that, made me think of it." 

" So shail \ ours, daughter ; while we are about it we will 
do the thin^ well. And your note-paper will keep quite 
safely in this nice little place provided for it, even if you 
should not want to use a sheet of it in half a dozen years." 

" How nice that is t" said Ellen, admiringly. 

" I suppose the riute-paper must have envelopes too," said 
Mrs. Montgomery. 

" To be sure, matAitcb ; I suppose so," said Ellen, smiling; 
" Miss Allen's had. 1 ' 

" Well now we have f s ^i ail the paper we want, I think," 
said Mrs. Montgomery , ■• me next thing is ink, — or an ink- 
stand rather." 

Different kinds were presented for her choice. 

" 0, mamma, that one won't do," said Ellen, anxiously ; 
M you know the desk will be Knocking about in a trunk, and 
the ink would run out, and spoil everything. It should be 
one of those that shut tight. I don't see the right kind 
here." 

The shopman brought one. 

" There, mamma, do you see ?" said Ellen ; " it shuts 
with a spring, and nothing can possibly come out ; do you 
see, mamma ? You can turn it topsy turvy." 

" I see you are quite right, daughter ; it seems I should 
get on very ill without you to advise me. Fill the inkstand, if 
you please." 

" Mamma, what shall I do when my ink is gone? that 
inkstand will hold but a little, you know." 

" Your aunt will supply you, of course, my dear, when you 
are out." 

" I'd rather take some of my own by half," said Ellen. 



40 



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" You could not carry a bottle of ink in your desk -with- 
out great danger to everything else in it. It would not da 
to venture/' 

"We have excellent ink-powder," said the shopman, "in 
small packages, which can be very conveniently carried about. 
You see, ma'am, there is a compartment in the desk for such 
things ; and the ink is very easily made at any time." 

" O that will do nicely," said Ellen, that is just the 
thing." 

" Now what is to go in this other square place opposite 
the inkstand ?" said Mrs. Montgomery. 

** That is the place for the box of lights, mamma." 
" What sort of lights ?" 

" For sealing letters, mamma, you know. They are not 
like your wax taper at all ; they are little wax matches, that 
burn just long enough to seal one or two letters ; Miss Allen 
showed me how she used them. Her's were in a nice little 
box just like the inkstand on the outside ; and there was a 
place to light the matches, and a place to set them in while 
they are burning. There, mamma, that's it," said Ellen, as 
the shopman brought forth the article which she was describ- 
ing, " that's it exactly ; and that will just fit. Now, mamma, 
for the wax." 

" You want to seal your letter before you have written it," 
said Mrs. Montgomery, — " we have not got the pens yet." 

" That's true, mamma ; let us have the pens. And some 
quills too, mamma ?" 

" Do you know how to make a pen, Ellen ?" 

" No, mamma, not yet ; but I want to learn very much. 
Miss Pichegru says, that every lady oug*ht to know how to 
make her own pens." 

" Miss Pichegru is very right ; but T think you are rather 
too young to learn. However, w T e will try. Now here are 
steel points enough to last you a great while, — and as many 
quills as it is needful you should cut up for one year at least ; 
— we haven't a pen handle 3 T et." 

" Here, mamma," said Ellen, holding out a plain ivory 
one, — " don't you like this ? I think it is prettier than these 
that are all cut and fussed, or those other gay ones either." 

" I think so too, Ellen ; the plainer the prettier. Now 
what comes next ?" 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



41 



** The knife, mamma, to make the pens,/ said Ellen; 
smiling. 

" True, the knife. Let us see some of your best pen- 
knives. Now, Ellen, choose. That one won't do, my deaf ; 
it should have two blades, — a large as well as a small one. 
You know you want to mend a pencil sometimes." 

" So I do, mamma, to be sure, you're very right ; here's a 
nice one. Now, mamma, the wax." 

" There is a box-full ; choose your own colours." Seeing it 
was likely to be a work of time, Mrs. Montgomery walked 
away to another part of the store. When she returned 
Ellen had made up an assortment of the oddest colours she 
could find. 

" I won'thave any red, mamma, it is so common," she 
said. 

" I think it is the prettiest of all," said Mrs. Montgomery. 

" Do you, mamma ? then I will have a stick of red on 
purpose to seal to you with." 

" And who do you intend shall have the benefit of the 
other colours ?" inquired her mother. 

" I declare, mamma," said Ellen, laughing, " I never 
thought of that; I am afraid they will have to go to you. 
You must not mind, mamma, if you get green and blue and 
yellow seals once in a while." 

" I dare say I shall submit myself to it with a good grace," 
said Mrs. Montgomery. " But come, my dear, have we got 
all that we want? This desk has been very long in 
furnishing." 

" You haven't given me a seal yet, mamma." 

" Seals ! There are a variety before you ; see if you can 
find one that you like. By the way, you cannot seal a let- 
ter, can you ?" 

" Not yet, mamma," said Ellen, smiling again, " that is 
another of the things I have got to learn." 

" Then I think you had better have some wafers in the 
mean time." 

While Ellen was picking out her seal, which took not a 
little time, Mrs. Montgomery laid in a good supply of wafers 
of all sorts ; and then went on further to furnish the desk 
with an ivory leaf-cutter, a paper-folder, a pounce-box, a ruler, 
and a neat little silver pencil ; also, some drawing-pencils, 
3* 



42 



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India-rubber, and sheets of drawing paper. She took a sad 
pleasure in adding everything she could think of that might 
be for Ellen's future use or advantage ; but as with her own 
hands she placed in the desk one thing after another, the 
thought crossed her mind how Ellen would make drawings 
with those very pencils, on those very sheets of paper, which 
her eyes Avould never see! She turned away with a sigh, 
and receiving Ellen's seal from her hand put that also in 
its place. Ellen had chosen one with her own name. 

" Will you send these things at bnceV said Mrs. Mont- 
gomery ; "I particularly wish to have them at home as early 
in the day as possible." 

The man promised. Mrs. Montgomery paid the bill, and 
she and Ellen left the store. 

They walked a little way in silence. 

" I cannot thank you mamma," said Ellen. 

"It is not necessary my dear child," said Mis. Montgo- 
mery, returning the pressure of her hand ; " I know all that 
you would say." 

There was as much sorrow as joy at that moment in the 
heart of the joyfullest of the two. 

" Where are we going now, mamma ?" said Ellen again 
after a while. 

" I wished and intended to have gone to St. Clair and 
Fleury's, to get you some merino and other things ; but we 
have been detained so long already that I think I had better 
go home. I feel somewhat tired." 

" I am very sorry, dear mamma," said Ellen, — I am afraid 
I kept you too long about that desk. 

" You did not keep me, daughter, any longer than I chose 
to be kept. But I think I will go home now, and take the 
chance of another fine day for the merino." 



CHAPTER IV. 



How can I live without thee ! how forego 

Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly joined. — Mixto> 

When dinner was over and the table cleared away, the 
mother and daughter were left, as they always loved to be, 
alone. It was late in the afternoon, and already somewhat 
dark, for clouds had gathered over the beautiful sky of the 
morning, and the wind rising now and then made its voice 
heard. Mrs. Montgomery was lying on the sofa as usual, 
seemingly at ease ; and Ellen was sitting on a little bench 
before the fire, very much at her ease indeed, without any 
seeming about it. She smiled as she met her mother's eyes. 

" You have made me very happy to-day, mamma." 

" I am glad of it, my dear child. I hoped I should. I 
believe the whole affair has given me as much pleasure, Ellen, 
as it has you." 

There was a pause. 

" Mamma, I will take the greatest possible care of my new 
treasures." 

" I know you will. If I had doubted it, Ellen, most 
assuredly I should not have given them to you, sorry as I 
should have been to leave you without them. So you see 
you have not established a character for carefulness in vain." 

" And, mamma, I hope you have not given them to me in 
vain either. I will try to use them in the way that I know 
you wish me to ; that will be the best way I can thank you." 

" Well, I have left you no excuse, Ellen. You know fully 
what I wish you to do and to be ; and when I am away I 
shall please myself with thinking that my little daughter is 
following her mother's wishes ; I shall believe so, Ellen. You 
will not let me be disappointed ?" 

"0 no, mamma," said Ellen, who was now in her mother's 
arms. 



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" "Well, my child," said Mrs. Montgomery, in a lighter 
tone, " my gifts will serve as reminders for you if you are 
ever tempted to forget my lessons. If you fail to send me 
letters, or if those you send are not what tljey ought to 
be, I think the desk will cry shame upon you. And if you 
ever go an hour with a hole in your stocking, or a tear in your 
dress, or a string off your petticoat, I hope the sight of your 
work-box will make you blush." 

" Work-box, mamma ?" 

" Yes. 0, I forgot ; you've not seen that." 

" No, mamma ; what do you mean ?" 

" Why, my dear, that was one of the things you most 
wanted, but I thought it best not to overwhelm you quite 
this morning ; so while you were on an exploring expedition 
round the store I chose and furnished one for you." 

" O mamma, mamma !" said Ellen, getting up and clasp- 
ing her hands, " what shall 1 do ? 1 don't know what to say ; 
I can't say anything. Mamma, it's too much." 

So it seemed, for Ellen sat down and began to cry. Her 
mother silently reached out a hand to her, which she squeez- 
ed and kissed with all the energy of gratitude, love, and 
sorrow ; till gently drawn by the same hand she was placed 
again in her mother's arms and upon her bosom. And in that 
tried resting-place she lay, calmed and quieted, till the shades 
of afternoon deepened into evening and evening into night, 
and the light of the fire was all that was left to them. 

Though not a word had been spoken for a long time Ellen 
was not asleep ; her eyes were fixed on the red glow of the 
coals in the grate, and she was busily thinking, but not of 
them. Many sober thoughts were passing through her little 
head, and stirring her heart; a few were of her new posses- 
sions and bright projects — more of her mother. She was 
thinking how very, very precious was the heart she could 
feel beating where her cheek lay — she thought it was greater 
happiness to lie there than anything else in life could be — she 
thought she had rather even die so, on her mother's breast, 
than live long without her in the world — she felt that in earth 
or in heaven there was nothing so dear. Suddenly she broke 
the silence. 

" Mamma, what does that mean, * He that loveth father or 
mother more than me, is not worthy of me ?' " 



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45 



** It means just what it says. If you love anybody or any- 
thing better than Jesus Christ, you cannot be one of his 
children." 

" But then, mamma," said Ellen, raising her head, " how 
can I be one of his children ? I do love you a great deal 
better ; how can. I help it, mamma?" 

" You cannot help it, I know, my dear," said Mrs. Mont- 
gomery, Avith a sigh, " except by His grace who has promis- 
ed to change the hearts of his people — to take away the 
heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." 

" But is mine a heart of stone then, mamma, because I 
cannot help loving you best ?" 

" Not to me, dear Ellen," replied Mrs. Montgomery, press- 
ing closer the little form that lay in her arms ; " I have never 
found it so. But yet I know that the Lord Jesus is far, far 
more worthy of your affection than I am, and if your heart 
were not hardened by sin you would see him so ; it is only 
because you do not know him that you love me better. Pray, 
pray, my dear child, that he would take away the power of 
sin, and show you himself; that is all that is wanting." 

" I will, mamma," said Ellen, tearfully. " 0, mamma, 
what shall I do without you ?" 

Alas, Mrs. Montgomery's heart echoed the question ; she 
had no answer. 

" Mamma," said Ellen, after a few minutes, " can I have 
no true love to him at all unless I love him best ?" 

" I dare not say that you can," answered her mother, 
seriously. 

" Mamma," said Ellen, after a little, again raising her head 
and looking her mother full in the face, as if willing to apply 
the severest test to this hard doctrine, and speaking with an 
indescribable expression, " do you love him better than you do 
me?" 

She knew her mother loved the Saviour, but she thought 
it scarcely possible that herself could have but the second 
place in her heart ; she ventured a bold question to prove 
whether her mother's practice would not contradict her 
theory, 

But Mrs. Montgomery answered steadily, " I do, my 
daughter ;" and with a gush of tears Ellen sunk her head 
again upon her bosom. She had no more to say ; her mouth 



40 



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was stopped forever as to the right of the matter, though 
she still thought it an impossible duty in her own particular 
case. 

" I do indeed, my daughter," repeated Mrs. Montgomery ; 
" that does not make my love to you the less, Eut the more, 
Ellen." 

" mamma, mamma," said Ellen, clin^inor to her, " I wish 
you w r ould teach me ! I have only you, and I am going to 
lose you. What shall I do, mamma ?" 

With a voice that strove to be calm Mrs. Montgomery an- 
swered, " ' I love them that love me, and they that seek me 
early shall find me.' " And after a minute or two she added, 
" He who says this has promised too that he will ' gather 
the lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom.' " 

The words fell soothingly on Ellen's ear, and the slight 
tremor in the voice reminded her also that her mother must 
not be agitated. She checked herself instantly, and soon lay 
as before, quiet and still on her mother's bosom, with her 
eyes fixed on the fire ; and Mrs. Montgomery did not know 
that when she now and then pressed a kiss upon the fore- 
head that lay so near her lips, it every time brought the 
water to Ellen's eyes and a throb to her heart. But after 
some half or three-quarters of an hour had passed away, a 
sudden knock at the door found both mother and daughter 
asleep ; it had to be repeated once or twice before the 
knocker could gain attention. 

"What is that, mamma?" said Ellen, starting up. 

" Somebody at the door. Open it quickly, love." 

Ellen did so, and found a man standing there, with his 
arms rather full of sundry packages. 

" 0, mamma, my things !" cried Ellen, clapping her hands ; 
" here they are !" 

The man placed his burden on the table, and withdrew. 

" 0, mamma, I am so glad they are come ! Now if I only 
had a light — this is my desk, I know, for it's the largest ; 
and 1 think this is my dressing-box, as well as I can tell by 
feeling — yes, it is, here's the handle on top ; and this is my 
dear work-box — not so big as the desk, nor so little as the 
dressing-box. O, mamma, mayn't 1 ring for a light ?" 

There was no need, for a servant just then entered, bring- 
ing the w T ished-for candles, and the not-wished-for tea. Ellen 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD- 



47 



was capering about in the most fantastic style, but suddenly 
stopped short at sight of the tea-things, and looked very 
grave. " Well, mamma, I'll tell you what I'll do." she 
said, after v a pause of consideration ; " I'll make the tea 
the first thing, before I untie a single knot ; won't that be 
best, mamma ? Because I know if I once begin to look T 
shan't want to stop. Don't you think that is wise, mamma ?" 

But alas ! the fire had got very low ; there was no making 
the tea quickly ; and the toast was a work of time. And 
when all was over at length, it was then too late for Ellen 
to begin to undo packages. She struggled with impatience 
a minute or two, and then gave up the point very gracefully, 
and went to bed. 

She had a fine opportunity the next day to make up for 
the evening's disappointment. It was cloudy and stormy ; 
going out was not to be thought of, and it was very un- 
likely that anybody would come in. Ellen joyfully allotted 
the whole morning to the examination and trial of her new 
possessions ; and as soon as breakfast was over and the room 
clear she set about it. She first went through the desk 
pnd everything in it, making a running commentary on the 
excellence, fitness, and beauty of all it contained ; then the 
dressing-box received a share, but a much smaller share, of 
attention ; and lastly, with fingers trembling with eagerness 
she untied the packthread that was wound round the work- 
box, and slowly took off cover after cover ; she almost 
screamed when the last was removed. The box was of satin- 
wood, beautifully finished, and lined with crimson silk ; and 
IV] rs. iMontgomery had taken good care it should want no- 
thing that Ellen might need to keep her clothes in perfect 
order. 

" O, mamma, how beautiful ! 0, mamma, how good you 
are ! Mamma, I promise you I'll never be a slattern. Here 
is more cotton than 1 can use up in a great while — every 
number, I do think; and needles, oh, the needles! what a 
parcel of them ! and, mcmma ! what a lovely scissors ! did you 
choose it, mamma, or did it belong to the box?" 

" I chose it." 

" 1 might have guessed it, mamma, it's just like you. 
And here's a thimble — fits me exactly ; and an emery-bag! 
how pretty ! — and a bodkin ! this is a great deal nicer than 



48 



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your's, mamma — your's is decidedly the worse for wear ; — and 
what's this ? — 0, to make eyelet holes with, I know. And O, 
mamma! here is almost every thing, I think — here are tapes, 
and buttons, and hooks and eyes, and darning cotton, and 
silk-winders, and pins, and all sorts of things. What's this 
for, mamma ?" 

" That's a scissors to cut buttonholes with. Try it on 
that piece of paper that lies by you, and you will see how it 
works." 

" 0, I see!" said Ellen, " how very nice that is. Well, I 
shall take great pains now to make my buttonholes very 
handsomely." 

One survey of her riches could by no means satisfy Ellen. 
For some time she pleased herself with going over and over 
the contents of the box, finding each time something new to 
like. At length she closed it, and keeping it still in her lap, 
sat awhile looking thoughtfully into the fire; till turning 
toward her mother she met her gaze, fixed mournfully, 
almost tearfully, on herself. The box was instantly shoved 
aside, and getting up and bursting into tears, Ellen went to 
her. " 0, dear mother," she said, u I wish they were all 
back in the store, if I could only keep you !" 

Mrs. Montgomery answered only by folding her to her 
heart. 

" Is there no help for it, mamma ?" 

" There is none. — We know that all things shall work to- 
gether for good to them that love God." 

" Then it will be ail good for you, mamma, but what will 
it be for me ?" And Ellen sobbed bitterly. 

" It will be all well, my precious child, I doubt not. I do 
not doubt it, Ellen. Do you not doubt it either, love ; but 
from the hand that wounds, seek the healing. He wounds 
that he may heal. He does not afflict willingly. Perhaps 
he sees, Ellen, that you never would seek him while you had 
me to cling to " 

Ellen clung to her at that moment ! yet not more than 
her mother clung to her. 

" How happy we were, mamma, only a year ago, — even a 
month." 

" We have no continuing city here," answered her mother, 
with a sigh. " But there is a home, Ellen, where changes do 



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49 



not come; and they that n»*e once gathered there are part- 
ed no more forever ; and all tears are wiped from their eyes. 
I believe I am going fast to that home ; and now my greatest 
concern is, that my little Ellen — my precious baby — may 
follow me and come there too." 

No more was said, nor could be said, till the sound of the 
doctor's steps upon the stair obliged each of them to assume 
an appearance of composure as speedily as possible. But 
they could not succeed perfectly enough to blind him. He 
did not seem very well satisfied, and told Ellen he believed 
he should have to get another nurse, — he was afraid she didn't 
obey orders. 

While the doctor was there Ellen's Bible was brought in ; 
and no sooner was he gone than it underwent as thorough an 
examination as the boxes had received. Ellen went over 
every part of it with the same great care and satisfaction ; but 
mixed with a different feeling. The words that caught her 
eye as she turned over the leaves seemed to echo what her 
mother had been saying to her. It began to grow dear 
already. After a little she rose and brought it to the sofa. 

"Are you satisfied with it, Ellen?" 

" Oh yes, mamma ; it is perfectly beautiful, outside and 
inside. Now, mamma, will you please to write my name in 
this precious book — my name, and anything else you please, 
mother. I'll bring you my new pen to write it with, and I've 
got ink here ; — shall I ?" / 

She brought it ; and Mrs. Montgomery wrote Ellen's name, 
and the date of the gift. The pen played a moment in her 
fingers, and then she wrote below the date : 

" ' I love them that love me ; and they that seek me early 
shall find me.' " 

This was for Ellen ; but the next words were not for her ; 
what made her write them ? — 

" ' 1 will be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee.' " 

They were written almost unconsciously, and as if bowed 
by an unseen force Mrs. Montgomery's head sank upon the 
open page ; and her whole soul went up with her petition : 

" Let these words be my memorial, that I have trusted in 
thee. And oh, when these miserable lips are silent for ever, 
remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast 
caused me to hope ; and be unto ray little one all thou hast 



50 



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been to me. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, thou that 
dwellest in the heavens !" 

She raised her face from the book, closed it, and gave it 
silently to Ellen. Ellen had noticed her action, but had no 
suspicion of the cause ; she supposed that one of her mother's 
frequent feelings of weakness or sickness had made her lean 
her head upon the Bible, and she thought no more about it. 
However, Ellen felt that she wanted no more of her boxes 
that day. She took her old place by the side of her mother's 
sofa, with her head upon her mother's hand, and an ex- 
pression of quiet sorrow in her face that it had not worn for 
several days. 



CHAPTER V. 



My child is yet a stranger in the world, 

She hath not seen the change of fourteen years. 

Shakspeare. 

The next day would not do for the intended shopping 
nor the next. The third day was fine, though cool and 
windy. 

" Do you think you can venture out to-day, mamma ? " 
said Ellen. 

" I am afraid not. I do not feel quite equal to it ; and the 
wind is a great deal too high for me besides." 

" Well," said Ellen, in the tone of one who is making up 
her mind to something, " we shall have a fine day by and by, 
I suppose, if we wait long enough ; we had to wait a great 
while for our first shopping day. I wish such another would 
come round." 

" But the misfortune is," said her mother, " that we cannot 
afford to wait. November will soon be here, and your clothes 
may be suddenly wanted before they are ready, if we do not 
bestir ourselves. And Miss Rice is coming in a few days — I 
ought to have the merino ready for her." 

" What will you do, mamma ? " 

" I do not know, indeed, Ellen ; I am greatly at a loss." 
y " Couldn't papa get the stuffs for you mamma ? " 

" No, he's too busy ; and besides, lie knows nothing at all 
about shopping for me ; he would be sure to bring me exactly 
what I do not want. I tried that once." 

" Well, what will you do, mamma ? Is there nobody else 
you could ask to get the things for you? Mrs. Foster would 
do it, mamma ! " 

" I know she would, and I should ask her without any 
difficulty, but she is confined to her room with a cold. I sec 
nothing for it but to be patient and let things take their 



52 



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course, though if a favourable opportunity should offer you 
■would have to go, clothes or no clothes ; it would not do to 
lose the chance of a good escort." 

And Mrs. Montgomery's face showed that this possibility, 
of Ellen's going unprovided, gave her some uneasiness. Ellen 
observed it. 

" Never mind me, dearest mother ; don't be in the least 
worried about my clothes. You don't know how little I 
think of them or care for them. It's no matter at all whether 
I have them or not." 

Mrs. Montgomery smiled, and passed her hand fondly over 
her little daughter's head, but presently resumed her anxious 
look out of the window. 

" Mamma !" exclaimed Ellen, suddenly starting up, " a 
brigh tthought has just come into my head ! / '11 do it for 
you, mamma ! " 

" Do what ? " 

" I'll get the merino and things for you, mamma, You 
needn't smile, — I will, indeed, if you will let me?" 

" My dear Ellen," said her mother, " I don't doubt you 
would if goodwill only were wanting ; but a great deal of 
skill and experience is necessary for a shopper, and what 
would you do without either ? " 

" But see, mamma," pursued Ellen eagerly, " I'll tell you 
how I'll manage, and I know I can manage very well. You 
tell me exactly what coloured merino you want, and give me a 
little piece to show me how fine it should be, and tell me 
what price you wish to give, and then I'll go to the store and 
ask them w show me different pieces, you know, and if I see 
any I think you would like, I'll ask them to give me a little 
bit of it to show you ; and then I'll bring it home, and if you 
like it, you can give me the money, and tell me how many 
yards you want, and I can go back to the store and get it. 
Why can't I, mamma? " 

" Perhaps you could ; but my dear child I am afraid you 
wouldn't like the business." 

" Yes I should ; indeed, mamma, I should like it dearly if 
I could help you so. Will you let me try, mamma ? " 

" I don't like, my child, to venture you alone on such an 
errand, among crowds of people ; I should be uneasy about 
you." 



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53 



" Dear mamma, what would the crowds of people do to 
me ? I am not a bit afraid. You know, mamma, I have 
often taken walks alone, — that's nothing new ; and what harm 
should come to me while I am in the store ? You needn't 
be the least uneasy about me ; — may I go ? " 

Mrs. Montgomery smiled, but was silent. 

" May I go, mamma ?" repeated Ellen. " Let me go at 
least and try what I can do. What do you say, mamma ? " 

" I don't know what to say, my daughter, but I am in 
difficulty on either hand. I will let you go and see what you 
can do. It would be a great relief to me to get this merino 
by any means." 

" Then shall I go right away, mamma ? " 

" As well now as ever. You are not afraid of the wind ? " 

" 1 should think not," said Ellen ; and away she scampered 
up stairs to get ready. With eager haste she dressed herself ; 
then with great care and particularity took her mother's 
instructions as to the article wanted ; and finally set out, sen- 
sible that a great trust was reposed in her, and feeling busy 
and important accordingly. But at the very bottom of Ellen's 
heart there was a little secret doubtfulness respecting her 
undertaking. She hardly knew it was there, but then she 
couldn't tell what it was that made her fingers so inclined to 
be tremulous while she was dressing, and that made her 
heart beat quicker than it ought, or than was pleasant, and 
one of her cheeks so much hotter than the other. However, 
she set forth upon her errand with a very brisk step, which 
she kept up till on turning a corner she came in sight of the 
place she was going to. Without thinking much about it, 
Ellen had directed her steps to St. Clair and Fleury's. It 
was one of the largest and best stores in the city, and the one 
she knew where her mother generally made her purchases ; 
and it did not occur to her that it might not be the best for 
her purpose on this occasion. But her steps slackened as 
soon as she came in sight of it, and continued to slacken as 
she drew nearer, and she went up the broad flight of marble 
steps in front of the store very slowly indeed, though they 
were exceeding low and easy. Pleasure was not certainly 
the uppermost feeling in her mind now ; yet she never 
thought of turning back. She knew that if she could suc- 
ceed in the object of her mission her mother would be relieved 



54 



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from some anxiety ; that was enough ; she was bent on ac- 
complishing it. 

Timidly she entered the large hall of entrance. It was full 
of people, and the buzz of business was heard on all sides. 
Ellen had for some time past seldom gone a shopping with 
her mother, and had never been in this store but once or 
twice before. She had not the remotest idea where, or in 
what apartment of the building, the merino counter was 
situated, and she could see no one to speak to. She stood 
irresolute in the middle of the floor. Everybody seemed to 
be busily engaged with somebody else ; and whenever an 
opening on one side or another appeared to promise her an 
opportunity, it was sure to be filled up before she could reach 
it, and disappointed and abashed she would return to her oW 
station in the middle of the floor. Clerks frequently passed 
her, crossing the store in all directions, but they were always 
bustling along in a great hurry of business ; they did not 
seem to notice her at all, and were gone before poor Ellen 
could get her mouth open to speak to them. She knew well 
enough now, poor child, what it was that made her cheeks 
burn as they did, and her heart beat as if it would burst its 
bounds. She felt confused, and almost confounded, by the 
incessant hum of voices, and moving crowd of strange people 
all around her, while her little figure stood alone and unnoticed 
in the midst of them ; and there seemed no prospect that she 
would be able to gain the ear or the eye of a single person. 
Once she determined to accost a man she saw advancing 
toward her from a distance, and actually made up to him 
for the purpose, but with a hurried bow, and " I beg your 
pardon, Miss !" he brushed past. Ellen almost burst into 
tears. She longed to turn and run out of the store, but a faint 
hope remaining, and an unwillingness to give up her undertak- 
ing, kept her fast. At length one of the clerks in the desk 
observed her, and remarked to Mr. St. Clair who stood by, 
" There is a little girl, sir, who seems to be looking for some- 
thing, or waiting for somebody ; she has been standing there 
a good while." Mr. St. Clair, upon this, advanced to poor 
Ellen's relief. 

" What do you wish, Miss ? " he said. 

But Ellen had been so long preparing sentences, trying to 
utter them and failing in the attempt, that now, when an 



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56 



opportunity to speak and be heard was given her, the power 
of speech seemed to be gone. 

" Do you wish anything, Miss ? " inquired Mr. St. Clair 
again. 

" Mother sent me," stammered Ellen, — " I wish, if you 
please, sir, — mamma wished me to look at merinoes, sir, if 
you please." 

" Is your mamma in the store ? " 

" No, sir/' said Ellen, " she is ill, and cannot come out, 
and she sent me to look at merinoes for her, if you please, sir." 

" Here, Saunders," said Mr. St. Clair, " show this young 
lady the merinoes." 

Mr. Saunders made his appearance from among a little group 
of clerks, with whom he had been indulging in a few jokes by 
way of relief from the tedium of business. " Come this way," 
he said to Ellen ; and sauntering before her, with a rather 
dissatisfied air, led the way out of the entrance hall into ano- 
ther and much larger apartment. There were plenty of 
people here too, and just as busy as those they had quitted. 
Mr. Saunders having brought Ellen to the merino counter, 
placed himself behind it ; and leaning over it and fixing his 
eyes carelessly upon her, asked what she wanted to look at. 
His tone and manner struck Ellen most unpleasantly, and 
made her again wish herself out of the store. He was a tall 
lank young man, with a quantity of fair hair combed down 
on each side of his face, a slovenly exterior, and the most 
disagreeable pair of eyes, Ellen thought, she had ever beheld. 
She could not bear to meet them, and cast down her own. 
Their look was bold, ill-bred, and ill-humoured ; and Ellen 
felt, though she couldn't have told why, that she need not 
expect either kindness or politeness from him. 

" What do you want to see, little one ?" inquired this gen- 
tleman, as if he had a business on hand he would like to be 
rid of. Ellen heartily wished he was rid of it, and she too. 
" Merinoes, if you please," she answered without looking up. 

" Well, what kind of merinoes ? Here are all sorts and 
descriptions of merinoes, and I can't pull them all down, you 
know, for you to look at. What kind do you want? " 

" 1 don't know without looking," said Ellen, " won't you 
please to show me some ? " 



56 



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He tossed down several pieces upon the counter, and 
tumbled them about before her. 

" There," said he, " is that anything like what you want ? 
There's a pink one, — and there's a blue one, — and there's a 
green one. Is that the kind ? " 

" This is the kind," said Mien ; " but this isn't the colour I 
want." 

" What colour do you want ? " 
" Something dark, if you please." 

" Well, there, that green's dark ; won't that do ? See, 
that would make up very pretty for you." 

" No," said Ellen, " mamma don't like green." 

" Why don't she come and choose her stuffs herself, then ? 
What colour dues she like ?" 

" Dark blue, or dark brown, or a nice gray, would do," 
said Ellen, " if it is fine enough." 

" ' Dark blue,' or ' dark brown,' or a ' nice gray,' eh ! Well, 
she's pretty easy to suit. A dark blue I've showed you 
already, — what's the matter with that ?" 

" It isn't dark enough," said Ellen. 

" Well," said he, discontentedly, pulling down another 
piece, " how'll that do ? That's dark enough." 

It was a fine and beautiful piece, very different from those 
he had showed her at first. Even Ellen could see that, and 
fumbling for her little pattern of merino, she compared it 
with the piece. They agreed perfectly as to fineness. 

" What is the price of this ? " she asked, with trembling 
hope that she was going to be rewarded by success for all the 
trouble of her enterprise. 

" Two dollars a yard." 

Her hopes and her countenance fell together. u That's too 
high," she said with a sigh. 

" Then take this other blue ; come, — it's a great deal prettier 
than that dark one, and not so dear ; and I know your mother 
will like it better." 

Ellen's cheeks were tingling and her heart throbbing, but 
she couldn't bear to give up. 

" Would you be so good as to show me some gray ? " 

He slowly and ill-humouredly complied, and took down an 
excellent piece of dark gray, which Ellen fell in love with at 



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one 13 » but she was again disappointed ; it was fourteen 
shillings. 

" Well, if you won't take that, take something else," said 
the man ; " you can't have everything at once ; if you will 
have cheap goods of course you can't have the same quality 
that you like ; but now, here's this other blue, only twelve 
shillings, and I'll lei you have it for ten if you'll take it." 

" No, it is too light and too coarse," said Ellen, " mamma 
wouldn't like it." 

" Let me see," said he, seizing her pattern and pretend- 
ing to compare it ; " it's quite as fine as this, if that's all you 
want." 

" Could you," said Ellen timidly, " give me a little bit of 
this gray to show to mamma ?" 

" no !" said he impatiently, tossing over the cloths and 
throwing Ellen's pattern on the floor ; " we can't cut up our 
goods ; if people don't choose to buy of us the}' may go 
somewhere else, and if you cannot decide upon anything I 
must go and attend to those that can. I can't wait here all 
day." 

" What's the matter, Saunders ?" said one of his brother 
clerks, passing him. 

" Why I've been here this half hour showing cloths to a 
child that doesn't know merino from a sheep's back," said he, 
laughing. And some other customers coming up at the mo- 
ment he was as good as his word, and left Ellen, to attend 
to them. 

Ellen stood a moment stock still, just where he had left 
her, struggling with her feelings of mortification ; she could 
not endure to let them be seen. Her face was on fire ; her 
head was dizzy. She could not stir at first, and in spite of 
her utmost efforts she could not command back one or two 
rebel tears that forced their way ; she lifted her hand to her 
face to remove them as quietly as possible. " What is all 
this about, my little girl ?" said a strange voice at her side. 
Ellen started, and turned her face, with the tears but half 
wiped away, toward the speaker. It was an old gentle- 
man, an odd old gentleman too, she thought ; one she cer- 
tainly would have been rather shy of if she had seen him un- 
der other circumstances. But though his face was odd, it 
4 



58 



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looked kindly upon her, and it was a kind tone of voice in 
which his question had been put ; so he seemed to her like a 
friend. " What is all this ?" repeated the old gentleman. Ellen 
began to tell what it was, but the pride which had forbidden 
her to weep before strangers gave way at one touch of sym- 
pathy, and she poured out tears much faster than words as 
she related her story, so that it was some little time before 
the old gentleman could get a clear notion of her case. He 
waited very patiently till she had finished ; but then he set 
himself in good earnest about righting the wrong. " Hallo ! 
you, sir !" he shouted, in a voice that made everybody look 
round ; w you merino man ! come and show your goods : why 
aren't you at your post, sir?" — as Mr. Saunders came up 
with an altered countenance — " here's a young lady you've 
left standing unattended-to I don't know how long ; are these 
your manners ?" 

" The young lady did not wish anything I believe, sir," re- 
turned Mr. Saunders softly. 

" You know better, you scoundrel," retorted the old gen- 
tleman, who was in a great passion ; " 1 saw the whole matter 
with my own eyes. You are a disgrace to the store, sir, and 
deserve to be sent out of it, which you are like enough to be." 

" I really thought, sir," said Mr. Saunders smoothly, — for 
he knew the old gentleman, and knew very well he was a 
person that must not be offended, — " I really thought — I was 
not aware, sir, that the young lady had any occasion for my 
services. 

" Well, show your wares, sir, and hold your tongue. Now, 
my dear, what did you want ?" 

" I wanted a little bit of this gray merino, sir, to show to 
mamma ; — I couldn't buy it, you know, sir, until I found out 
whether she would like it." 

" Cut a piece, sir, without any words," said the old gen- 
tleman. Mr. Saunders obeyed. 

" Did you like this best ?" pursued the old gentleman. 

" I liked this dark blue very much, sir, and I thought 
mamma would ; but it's too high." 

" How much is it ?" inquired he. 

" Fourteen shillings," replied Mr. Saunders. 

" He said it was two dollars !" exclaimed Ellen. 

" I beg pardon," said the crest-fallen Mr. Saunders, " the 



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59 



young lady mistook me ; I was speaking of another piece 
when I said two dollars." 

" He said this was two dollars, and the gray fourteen shil- 
lings," said Ellen. 

" Is the gray fourteen shillings," inquired the old gentle- 
man. 

" I think not, sir," answered Mr. Saunders — " I believe not, 
sir,— I think it's only twelve, — I'll inquire, if you please, sir." 

" No, no," said the old gentleman, " I know it was only 
twelve — I know your tricks, sir. Cut a piece off the blue. 
Now my dear, are there any more pieces of which you would 
like to take patterns, to show your mother ?" 

" No sir," said the overjoyed Ellen ; "I am sure she will 
like one of these." 

" Now shall we go, then ?" 

" If you please, sir," said Ellen, " I should like to have 
my bit of merino that I brought from home ; mamma wanted 
me to bring it back again." 

"Where is it?" 

" That gentleman threw it on the floor." 
" Do you hear, sir ?" said the old gentleman ; " find it 
directly." 

Mr. Saunders found and delivered it, after stooping in 
search of it till he was very red in the face ; and he Avas left, 
wishing heartily that he had some safe means of revenge, 
and obliged to come to the conclusion that none was within 
his reach, and that he must stomach his indignity in the best 
manner he could. But Ellen and her protector went forth 
most joyously together from the store. 

" Do you live far from here?" asked the old gentleman. 

"0 no, sir," said Ellen, "not very; it's only at Green's 
Hotel, in Southing street." 

"I'll go with you," said he, " and when your mother has 
decided which merino she will have, we'll come right back 
and get it. I do not want to trust you again to the mercy 
of that saucy clerk." 

" thank you, sir !" said Ellen, " that is just what I was 
afraid of. But I shall be giving you a great deal of trouble, 
sir," she added, in another tone. 

"No you won't," said the old gentleman, "I can't be 
troubled, so you needn't say anything about that." 



60 



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They went gaily along — Ellen s heart about five times as 
light as the one with which she had travelled that very road 
a little while before. Her old friend was in a very cheerful 
mood too, for he assured Ellen laughingly that it was of no 
manner of use for her to be in a hurry, for he could not 
possibly set off and skip to Green's Hotel, as she seemed in- 
clined to do. They got there at last. Ellen showed the old 
gentleman into the parlour, and ran up stairs in great haste 
to her mother. But in a few minutes she came down again, 
with a very April face, for smiles were playing in every 
feature while the tears were yet wet upon her cheeks. 

" Mamma hopes you'll take the trouble, sir, to come up 
stairs," she said, seizing his hand ; " she wants to thank you 
herself, sir." 

" It is not necessary," said the old gentleman, " it is not 
necessary at all ;" but he followed his little conductor never- 
theless to the door of her mother's room, into which she 
ushered him with great satisfaction. 

Mrs. Montgomery was looking very ill — he saw that at a 
glance. She rose from her sofa, and extending her hand 
thanked him with glistening eyes for his kindness to her 
child. 

" 1 don't deserve any thanks, ma'am," said the old gen- 
tleman ; " I suppose my little friend has told you what made 
as acquainted?" 

" She gave me a very short account of it," said Mrs. 
Montgomery. 

She was very disagreeably tried." said the old gentle- 
man. " I presume you do not need to be told, ma'am, that 
her behaviour was such as would have become any years. I 
assure you, ma'am, if I had had no kindness in my compo- 
sition tofeel for the child, my honour as a gentleman would 
have made me interfere for the ladyT 

Mrs. Montgomery smiled, but looked through glistening 
eyes again on Ellen. " I am very glad to hear it," she re- 
plied. " I was very far from thinking, when I permitted her 
to go on this errand, that I was exposing her to anything 
more serious than the annoyance a timid child would feel at 
having to transact business with strangers." 

" I suppose not," said the old gentleman ; " but it isn't a 
vort of thing that should be often done. There are all sorts 



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61 



of people in this world, and a little one alone in a crowd is 
in danger of being trampled upon." 

Mrs. Montgomery's heart answered this with an involun- 
tary pang. He saw the shade that passed over her face as 
she said sadly : 

" I know it* sir ; and it was with strong unwillingness that 
I allowed Ellen this morning to do as she had proposed ; 
but in truth I was but making a choice between difficulties. 
I am very sorry I chose as I did. If you are a father, sir, you 
know better than I can tell you, how grateful I am for your 
kind interference." 

" Say nothing about that ma'am ; the less the better. I am 
an old man, and not good for much now, except to please 
young people. I think myself best off when I have the best 
chance to do that. So if you will be so good as to choose 
that merino, and let Miss Ellen and me go and despatch our 
business, you will be conferring and not receiving a favour. 
And any other errand that you please to entrust her with 
I'll undertake to see her safe through." 

His look and manner obliged Mrs. Montgomery to take 
him at his word. A very short examination of Ellen's pat- 
terns ended in favour of the gray merino ; and Ellen was com- 
missioned not only to get and pay for this, but also to choose 
a dark dress of the same stuff, and enough of a certain article 
called nankeen for a coat ; Mrs. Montgomery truly opining 
that the old gentleman's care would do more than see her 
scathless, — that it would have some regard to the justness 
and prudence of her purchases. 

In great glee Ellen set forth again with her new old 
friend. Her hand was fast in his, and ker tongue ran very 
freely, for her heart was completely opened to him. He 
seemed as pleased to listen as she was to talk ; and by little 
and little Ellen told him all her history ; the troubles that 
had come upon her in consequence of her mother's illness, 
and her intended journey and prospects. 

That was a happy day to Ellen. They returned to 
St. Clair and Fleurv's ; bought the gray merino, and the 
nankeen, and a dark brown merino for a dress. " Do vou 
want only one of these ?" asked the old gentleman. 

" Mamma said only one," said Ellen ; " that will last me all 
the winter." 



62 



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" Well," said he, " 1 think two will do better. Let us 
have another off the same piece, Mr. Shopman." 

" But I am afraid mamma won't like it, sir," said Ellen, 
gently. 

" Pho, pho," said he, " your mother has nothing to do 
with this ; this is my affair." He paid for it accordingly. 
" Now, Miss Ellen," said he, when they left the store, "have 
you got anything in the shape of a good warm winter bon- 
net? For it's as cold as the mischief up there in Thirlwall ; 
your pasteboard things wont do ; if you don't take good care 
of your ears you will lose them some fine frosty day. You 
must quilt and pad, and all sorts of things, to keep alive and 
comfortable. So you haven't a hood, eh ? Do you think 
you and I could make out to choose one that your mother 
would think wasn't quite a fright ? Come this way, and let 
us see. If she don't like it she can give it away, you know." 

He led the delighted Ellen into a milliner's shop, and after 
turning over a great many different articles chose her a nice 
warm hood, or quilted bonnet. Jt was of dark blue silk, 
well made and pretty. He saw with great satisfaction that 
it fitted Ellen well, and would protect her ears nicely ; and 
having paid for it and ordered it home, he nnd Ellen sallied 
forth into the street again. But he wouldn't let her thank 
him. " It is just the very thing I wanted, sir," said Ellen; 
" mamma was speaking about it the other day, and she did 
not see how I was ever to get one, because she did not feel 
at all able to go out, and I could not get one myself ; I 
know she'll like it very much." 

" Would you rather have something for yourself or your 
mother, Ellen, if«you could choose, and have but one?" 

" Oh, for mamma, sir," said Ellen — " a great deal !" 

" Come in here," said he ; " let us see if we can find any- 
thing she would like." 

It was a grocery store. After looking about a little, the 
old gentleman ordered sundry pounds of figs and white 
grapes to be packed up in papers ; and being now very near 
home he took one parcel and Ellen the other till they come 
to the door of Green's Hotel, where he committed both to 
her care. 

u Won't you come in, sir ?" said Ellen. 



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63 



" No," said he, " I can't this time — I must go home to 
dinner." 

" And shan't I see you any more, sir?" said Ellen, a 
shade coming over her face, which a minute before had been 
quite joyous. 

" Well, I don't know," said he kindly — "I hope you will. 
You shall hear from me again at any rate, I promise you. 
We've spent one pleasant morning together, haven't we? 
Good-bye, good-bye." 

Ellen's hands were full, but the old gentleman took them 
in both his, packages and all, and shook them after a fashion, 
and again bidding her good-bye, walked away down the 
street. 

The next morning Ellen and her mother were sitting quietly 
together, and Ellen had not finished her accustomed reading, 
when there came a knoek at the door. " My old gentleman !" 
cried Ellen, as she sprung to open it. No, — there was no old 
gentleman, but a black man with a brace of beautiful wood- 
cock in his hand. He bowed very civilly, and said he had 
been ordered to leave the birds with Miss Montgomerv. 
Ellen, in surprise, took them from him, and likewise a note 
which he delivered into her hand. Ellen asked from whom 
the birds eame, but with another polite, bow the man said the 
note Avould inform her, and went away. In great curiosity 
she carried them and the note to her mother, to whom the 
latter was directed. It read thus: — 

" Will Mrs. Montgomery permit an old man to please him- 
self in his own way, by showing his regard for her little 
daughter ? And not feel that he is taking a liberty. The birds 
are for Miss Ellen." 

" Oh, mamma ! " exelaimed Ellen, jumping with delight, 
" did you ever see sueh a dear old gentleman ? Now I know 
what he meant yesterday, when he asked me if I would rather 
have something for myself or for you. How kind he is ! to 
do just the very thing for me that he knows would give me the 
most pleasure. Now, mamma, these birds are mine, you 
know, and I give them to you. You must pay me a kiss 
for them mamma ; they are worth that. Aren't they beau- 
ties ? " 

" They are very fine indeed," said Mrs. Montgomery ; " this 



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is just the season for woodcock, and these are in beautiful 
condition." 

" Do you like woodcocks, mamma?" 

" Yes, very much." 

" 0, how glad I am ! " said Ellen. " I'll ask Sam to have 
them done very nicely for you, and then you will enjoy them 
so much." 

The waiter was called, and instructed accordingly, and to 
him the birds were committed, to be delivered to the care of 
the cook. 

" Now mamma," said Ellen, " I think these birds have 
made me happy for all day." 

"Then I hope, daughter, they will make you busy for all 
Jay. You have ruffles to hem, and the skirts of your dresses 
to make, we need not wait for Miss Rice to do that ; and 
■when she comes you will have to help her, for I can do 
little. You can't be too industrious." 

" Well, mamma, I am as willing- as can be." 

This was the beginning of a pleasant two weeks to Ellen ; 
weeks to which she often looked back afterwards, so quietly 
and swiftly the days fled away in busy occupation and sweet 
intercourse with her mother. The passions which were apt 
enough to rise in Ellen's mind upon occasion, were for the 
present kept effectually in check. She could not forget that 
her days with her mother would very soon be at an end, for 
a long time at least ; and this consciousness, always present 
to her mind, forbade even the wish to do anything that might 
grieve or disturb her. Love and tenderness had absolute 
rule for the time, and even had power to overcome the sor- 
rowful thoughts that would often rise, so that in spite of them 
peace reigned. And perhaps both mother and daughter 
enjoyed this interval the more keenly because they knew that 
sorrow was at hand. 

All this while there was scarcely a day that the old gen- 
tleman's servant did not knock at their door, bearing a present 
of game. The second time he came with some fine larks ; 
next was a superb grouse then ; woodcock again. Curiosity 
strove with astonishment and gratitude in Ellen's mind. 
" Mamma," she said, after she had admired the grouse for 
five minutes, " I cannot rest without finding out who this old 
gentleman is." 



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65 



" I am sorry for that," replied Mrs. Montgomery gravely, 
" for I see no possible way of your doing it." 

" Why, mamma, couldn't I ask the man that brings the 
birds what his name is ? He must know it." 

" Certainly not ; it would be very dishonourable." 

" Would it, mamma ? — why ? " 

" This old gentleman has not chosen to tell you his name ; 
he wrote his note without signing it, and his man has obviously 
been instructed not to disclose it ; don't you remember, he 
did not tell it when you asked him, the first time he came. 
Now this shows that the old gentleman wishes to keep it 
secret, and to try to find it out in any way would be a very 
unworthy return for his kindness." 

" Yes, it wouldn't be doing as I would be done by, to be 
sure ; but would it be dishonourable, mamma ? " 

" Very. It is very dishonorable to try to find out that 
about other people which does not concern you, and which 
they wish to keep from you. Remember that my dear 
daughter." 

" I will, mamma. I'll never do it, I promise you." 

" Even in talking with people, if you discern in tbem any 
unwillingness to speak upon a subject, avoid it immediately, 
provided of course that some higher interest do not oblige 
you to go on. That is true politeness, and true kindness, 
which are nearly the same ; and not to do so, I assure you, 
Ellen, proves one wanting in true honour." 

" Well mamma, I don't care what his name is, — at least I 
wont try to find out ; — but it does worry me that I cannot 
thank him. I wish he knew how much I feel obliged to 
him." 

" Very well ; write and tell him so." 

" Mamma !" said Ellen, opening her eyes very wide, — 
"can I?— would you?" 

" Certainly, — if you like. It would be very proper." 

" Then I will ! 1 declare that is a good notion. I'll do it 
the first thing, and then I can give it to that man if he comes 
to-morrow, as I suppose he will. Mamma," said she, on 
opening her desk, "how funny! don't you remember you 
wondered who I was going to write notes to ? here is one 
now, mamma ; it is very lucky I have got notepaper." 

More than one sheet of it was ruined before Ellen had 
4* 



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satisfied herself with what she wrote. It was a full hour 
from the time she began when she brought the following 
note for her mother's inspection : — 

" Ellen Montgomery does not know how to thank the old 
gentleman who is so kind to her. Mamma enjoys the birds 
very much, and I think I do more ; for I have the double 
pleasure of giving them to mamma, and of eating them after- 
wards ; but your kindness is the best of all. I can't tell 
you how much I am obliged to you, sir, but I will always 
love you for all you have done for me. 

"Ellen Montgomery." 

This note Mrs. Montgomery approved ; and Ellen having 
with great care and great satisfaction enclosed it in an en- 
velope, succeeded in sealing it according to rule and very 
well. Mrs. Montgomery laughed when she saw the direction, 
but let it go. Without consulting her, Ellen had written 
on the outside, "To the old gentleman." She sent it the 
next morning by the hands of the same servant, who this 
time was the bearer of a plump partridge " To Miss Mont- 
gomery ;" and her mind was a great deal easier on this sub- 
ject from that time. 



CHAPTER VI. 



Mac. What is the night ? 

Lady M. Almost at odds with morning, which is which. 

Macbeth. 

October was now far advanced. One evening, the even- 
ing of the last Sunday in the month, Mrs, Montgomery 
was lying in the parlour alone. Ellen had gone to bed 
some time before ; and now in the stillness of the Sab- 
bath evening the ticking of the clock was almost the only 
sound to be heard. The hands were rapidly approaching 
ten. Captain Montgomery was abroad ; and he had been 
so, — according to custom, — or in bed, the whole day. The 
mother and daughter had had the Sabbath to themselves ; 
and most quietly and sweetly it had passed. They had read 
together, prayed together, talked together a great deal ; and 
the evening had been spent in singing hymns ; but Mrs. 
Montgomery's strength failed here, and Ellen sang alone. 
She was not soon weary. Hymn succeeded hymn, with fresh 
and varied pleasure ; and her mother could not tire of listen- 
ing. The sweet words, and the sweet airs, — which were 
all old friends, and brought of themselves many a lesson of 
wisdom and consolation, by the mere force of association, — 
needed not the recommendation of the clear childish voice in 
which they were sung which w r as of all things the sweetest 
to Mrs. Montgomery's ear. She listened, — till she almost 
felt as if earth were left behind, and she and her child already 
standing within the walls of that city where sorrow and 
sighing shall be no more, and the tears shall be wiped from 
all eyes forever. Ellen's next hymn, however, brought her 
back to earth again, but though her tears flowed freely while 
she heard it, all her causes of sorrow could not render them 
bitter. 



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God in Israel sows the seeds 

Of affliction, pain, and toil ; 
These spring up and choke the weeds 

Which would else o'er^pread the soil. 
Trials make the promise sweet, — 

Trials give new life to prayer, — 
Trials bring me to his feet, 

Lay me low, and keep me there. 

" It is so indeed, dear Ellen," said Mrs. Montgomery when 
she had finished, and folding the little singer to her breast, — 
" I have always found it so. God is faithful. I have seen 
abundant cause to thank him for all the evils he has made 
me suffer heretofore, and I do not doubt it will be the same 
with this last and worst one. Let us glorify him in the fires, 
my daughter ; and if earthly joys be stripped from us, and 
if we be torn from each other, let us cling the closer to 
him, — he can and he will in that case make up to us more 
than all we have lost." 

Ellen felt her utter inability to join in her mother's expres- 
sions of confidence and hope ; to her there was no brightness 
on the cloud that hung over them, — it was all dark. She 
could only press her lips in tearful silence to the one and the 
other of her mother's cheeks alternately. How sweet the 
sense of the coming parting made every such embrace ! This 
one, for particular reasons, was often and long remembered. 
A few minutes they remained thus in each other's arms, cheek 
pressed against cheek, without speaking; but then Mrs. 
Montgomery remembered that Ellen's bed-time was already 
past, and dismissed her. 

For a while after Mrs. Montgomery remained just where 
Ellen had left her, her busy thoughts roaming over many 
things in the far past, and the sad present, and the uncertain 
future. She was unconscious of the passage of time, and 
did not notice how the silence deepened as the night drew 
on, till scarce a footfall was heard in the street, and the tick- 
ing of the clock sounded with that sad distinctness which 
seems to say, — "Time is going on — time is going on, — and 
you are going with it, — do what you will you can't help 
that." It was just upon the stroke of ten, and Mrs. Mont- 
gomery was still wrapped in her deep musings, when a sharp 
brisk footstep in the distance aroused her, rapidly ap- 
proaching ; — and she knew very well whose it was, and that 
it would pause at the door, before she heard the quick run 



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6*9 



up the steps, succeeded by her husband's tread upon the 
staircase. And yet she saw him open the door with a kind 
of startled feeling which his appearance now invariably caused 
her ; the thought always darted through her head, " perhaps 
he brings news of Ellen's going." Something, it would have 
been impossible to say what, in his appearance or manner, 
confirmed this fear on the present occasion. Her heart felt 
sick, and she waited in silence to hear what he would say. 
He seemed very well pleased ; sat down before the fire rub- 
bing his hands, partly with cold and partly with satisfaction ; 
and his first words were, " Weli ! we have got a fine oppor- 
tunity for her at last." 

How little he was capable of understanding the pang this 
announcement gave his poor wife ! But she only closed her 
eyes and kept perfectly quiet, and he never suspected it. 

He unbuttoned his coat, and taking the poker in his hand 
began to mend the fire, talking the while. 

" I am very glad of it indeed," said he, — " it's quite a load 
off my mind. Now we'll be gone directly, and high time it 
is — I'll take passage in the England the first thing to-mor- 
row. And this is the best possible chance for Ellen — every- 
thing we could have desired. I began to feel very uneasy 
about it, — it was getting so late, — but I am quite relieved 
now." 

"Who is it?" said Mrs. Montgomery, forcing herself to 
speak. 

" Why, it's Mrs. Dunscombe," said the captain, flourishing 
his poker by way of illustration, — " you know her, don't 
you ? — Captain Dunscombe's wife — she's going right through 
Thirlwall, and will take charge of Ellen as far as that, and 
there my sister will meet her with a wagon and take her 
straight home. Couldn't be anything better. I write to 
let Fortune know when to expect her. Mrs. Dunscombe is 
a lady of the first family and fashion — in the highest degree 
respectable ; she is going on to Fort Jameson, with her 
daughter and a servant, and her husband is to foliow her in 
a few days. I happened to hear of it to-day, and I immedi- 
ately seized the opportunity to ask if she would not take 
Ellen with her as far as Thirlwall, and Dunscombe was only 
too glad to oblige me. I'm a very good friend of his, and 
lie knows it." 



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" How soon does she go ?" 

" Why — that's the only part of the business I am afraid 
you won't like, — but there is no help for it ; — and after all 
it is a great deal better so than if you had time to wear 
yourselves out with mourning — better and easier too, in the 
end." 

" How soon ?" repeated Mrs. Montgomery, with an agoni- 
zed accent. 

" Why — I'm a little afraid of startling you — Dunscombe's 
wife must go, he told me, to-morrow morning ; and we ar- 
ranged that she should call in the carriage at six o'clock to 
take up Ellen." 

Mrs. Montgomery put I.r hands to her face and sank 
back against the sofa. 

"I was afraid you would take it so," said her husband, — 
" but I don't think it is worth while. It is a great deal better 
as it is, — a great deal better than if she had a long warning. 
You would fairly wear yourself out if you had time enough ; 
and you haven't any strength to spare." 

It was some while before Mrs. Montgomery could recover 
composure and firmness enough to go on with what she had 
to do, though knowing the necessity, he strove hard for it. 
For several minutes she remained quite silent and quiet, en- 
deavoring to collect her scattered forces ; then sitting Up- 
right and drawing her shawl around her she exclaimed, " I 
must waken Ellen immediately !" 

" Waken Ellen !" exclaimed her husband in his turn, — 
"what on earth for? That's the very last thing to be 
done." 

" W T hy you Avould not put oft' telling her until to-morrow 
morning ?" said Mrs. Montgomery. 

" Certainly I would — that's the only proper way to do. 
Why in the world should you wake her up, just to spend 
the whole night in useless grieving ? — unfitting her utterly 
for her journey, and doing yourself more harm than you can 
undo in a week. No, no, — just let her sleep quietly, and 
you go to bed and do the same. Wake her, up, indeed ! 
I thought you were wiser." 

" But she will be so dreadfully shocked in the morning !" 

" Not one bit more than she would be to-night, and she 
won't have so much time to feel it. In the hurry and bustle 



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71 



of getting off she will not have time to think about her 
feelings ; and once on the way she will do well enough ; — 
children always do." 

Mrs Montgomery looked undecided and unsatisfied. 

" I'll take the responsibility of this matter on myself, — you 
must not waken her, absolutely. It would not do at all," 
said the Captain, poking the fire very energetically, — " it 
would not do at all, — I cannot allow it." 

Mrs. Montgomery silently rose and lit a lamp. 

" You are not going into Ellen's room ?" said the husband. 

" I must — I must put her things together." 

" But you'll not disturb Ellen ?" said he, in a tone that 
required a promise. 

" Not if I can help it." 

Twice Mrs. Montgomery stopped before she reached the 
door of Ellen's room, for her heart failed her. But she must 
go on, and the necessary preparations for the morrow must 
be made ; — she knew it ; and repeating this to herself she 
gently turned the handle of the door and pushed it open, 
and guarding the light with her hand from Ellen's eyes, she 
set it where it would not shine upon her. Having done this, 
she set herself, without once glancing at her little daughter, 
to put all things in order for her early departure on the fol- 
lowing morning. But it was a bitter piece of work for her. 
She first laid out all that Ellen would need to wear, — the 
dark merino, the new nankeen coat, the white bonnet, the 
clean frill that her own hands had done up, the little gloves 
and shoes, and all the etceteras, with the thoughtfulness and 
the carefulness of love ; but it went through and through 
her heart that it was the very last time a mother's fingers 
would ever be busy in arranging or preparing Ellen's 
attire ; — the very last time she would ever see or touch even 
the little inanimate things that belonged to her ; and painful 
as the task was she was loth to have it come to an end. It 
was with a kind of lingering unwillingness to quit her hold 
of them that one thing after another was stowed carefully 
and neatly away in the trunk. She felt it was love's last 
act ; words might indeed a few times yet come over the 
ocean on a sheet of paper; — but sight, and hearing, and 
touch, must all have done henceforth for ever. Keenly as 
Mrs. Montgomery felt this, she went on busily with hei 



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work all the while ; and when the last thing was safely 
packed, shut the trunk and locked it without allowing her- 
self to stop and think, and even drew the straps. And then, 
having finished all her task, she went to the bedside ; she 
had not looked that way before. 

Ellen was lying in the deep sweet sleep of childhood ; 
the easy position, the gentle breathing, and the flush of 
health upon the cheek showed that all causes of sorrow were 
for the present far removed. Yet not so far either ; — for 
once when Mrs. Montgomery stooped to kiss her, light as 
the touch of that kiss had been upon her lips, it seemed to 
awaken a train of sorrowful recollections in the little sleeper's 
mind. A shade passed over her face, and with gentle but 
sad accent the word, " Mamma !" burst from the parted lips. 
Only a moment, — and the shade passed away, and the ex- 
pression of peace settled again upon her brow ; but Mrs. 
Montgomery dared not try the experiment a second time. 
Long she stood looking upon her, as if she knew she was 
looking her last ; then she knelt by the bedside and hid hei 
face in the coverings, — but no tears came ; the struggle in 
her mind and her anxious fear of the morning's trial made 
weeping impossible. Her husband at length came to seek 
her, and it was well he did ; she would have remained there 
on her knees all night. He feared something of the kind, 
and came to prevent it. Mrs. Montgomery suffered herself 
to be led away without making any opposition ; and went to 
bed as usual, but sleep was far from her. The fear of Ellen's 
distress when she should be awakened and suddenly told the 
truth, kept her in an agony. In restless wakefulness she 
tossed and turned uneasily upon her bed, watching for the 
dawn, and dreading unspeakably to see it. The Captain, in 
happy unconsciousness of his wife's distress and utter inabili- 
ty to sympathize with it, was soon in a sound sleep, and his 
heavy breathing was an aggravation of her trouble ; it kept 
repeating, what indeed she knew already, that the only one 
in the world who ought to have shared and soothed her grief 
was not capable of doing either. Wearied with watching 
and tossing to and fro, she at length lost herself a moment 
in uneasy slumber, from which she suddenly started in terror, 
and seizing her husband's arm to arouse him, exclaimed, " It 



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73 



is time to wake Ellen !" but she had to repeat her efforts two 
or three times before she succeeded in making herself heard. 

" What is the matter ?" said he heavily, and not overwell 
pleased at the interruption. 

" It is time to wake Ellen." 

" No it isn't," said he, relapsing, — " it isn't time yet this 
great while." 

" 0, yes it is," said Mrs. Montgomery, — " I am sure it is ; 
I see the beginning of dawn in the east." 

" Nonsense ! it's no such thing ; it's the glimmer of the 
lamp-light ; what is the use of your exciting yourself so for 
nothing. It won't be dawn these two hours. Wait till I 
find my repeater, and I'll convince you." 

He found and struck it. 

" There ! I told you so — only one quarter after four ; it 
would be absurd to wake her yet. Do go to sleep and leave 
it to me ; I'll take care it is done in proper time." 

Mrs. Montgomery sighed heavily, and again arranged her- 
self to watch the eastern horizon, or rather with her face in 
that direction ; for she could see nothing. But more quietly 
now she lay gazing into the darkness which it was in vain to try 
to penetrate ; and thoughts succeeding thoughts in a more 
regular train, at last fairly cheated her into sleep, much as she 
wished to keep it off. She slept soundly for near an hour ; 
and when she awoke the dawn had really begun to break in 
the eastern sky. She again aroused Captain Montgomery, 
who this time allowed it might be as well to get up ; but it 
was with unutterable impatience that she saw him liq-htinor a 
lamp, and moving about as leisurely as if he had nothing 
more to do than to get ready for breakfast at eight o'clock. 

" 0, do speak to Ellen !" she said, unable to control herself. 
" Never mind brushing your hair till afterwards. She will 
have no time for anything. O do not wait any longer ! what 
are you thinking of?" 

" What are you thinking of?" said the Captain ; — " there's 
plenty of time. Do quiet yourself — you're getting as nervous 
as possible. I'm going immediately." 

Mrs. Montgomery fairly groaned with impatience and an 
agonizing dread of what was to follow the disclosure to Ellen. 
But her husband coolly went on with his preparations, which 
indeed were not long in finishing ; and then taking the lamp 



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he at last went. He had in truth delayed on purpose, wish* 
ing the final leave-taking to be as brief as possible ; and the 
gray streaks of light in the east were plainly showing them- 
selves when he opened the door of his little daughter's room. 
He found her lying very much as her mother had left her, — 
in the same quiet sleep, and with the same expression of 
calmness and peace spread over her whole face and person. 
It touched even him,— and he was not readily touched by 
anything ; — it made him loth to say the word that would 
drive all that sweet expression so quickly and completely 
away. It must be said, however ; the increasing light 
warned him he must not tarry ; but it was with a hesitating 
and almost faltering voice that he said, " Ellen !" 

She stirred in her sleep, and the shadow came over her face 
again. 

" Ellen ! Ellen !" 

She started up, — broad awake now ; — and both the sha- 
dow and the peaceful expression were gone from her face. 
It was a look of blank astonishment at first with which she 
regarded her father, but very soon indeed that changed into 
one of blank despair. He saw that she understood perfectly 
what he was there for, and that there was no need at all for 
him to trouble himself with making painful explanations. 

" Come, Ellen," he said, — " that's a good child, make 
haste and dress. There's no time to lose now, for the car- 
riage will soon be at the door ; and your mother wants to see 
you, you know." 

Ellen hastily obeyed him, and began to put on her stock- 
ings and shoes. 

" That's right — now you'll be ready directly. You are 
going with Mrs. Dunscombe — I have engaged her to take 
charge of you all the Avay quite to Thirlwall ; she's the wife 
of Captain Dunscombe, whom you saw here the other day, 
you know ; and her daughter is going with her, so you will 
have charming company. I dare say you will enjoy the 
journey very much ; and your aunt will meet you at Thirl- 
wall. Now, make haste — [ expect the carriage every min- 
ute. I meant to have called you before, but I overslept 
myself. Don't be long." 

And nodding encouragement, her father left her. 



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75 



" How did she bear it ?" asked Mrs. Montgomery, when he 
returned. 

" Like a little hero. She didn't say a word, or shed a 
tear. I expected nothing but ihat she would make a great 
fuss ; but she has all the old spirit that you used to 
have, — and have yet, for anything I know. She behaved 
admirably." 

Mrs. Montgomery sighed deeply. She understood far bet- 
ter than her husband what Ellen's feelings were, and could 
interpret much more truly than he the signs of them ; the con- 
clusions she drew from Ellen's silent and tearless reception of 
the news differed widely from his. She now waited anxious- 
ly and almost fearfully for her appearance, which did not 
come as soon as she expected it. 

It was a great relief to Ellen when her father ended his 
talking, and left her to herself ; for she felt she could not 
dress herself so quick with him standing there and looking at 
her, and his desire that she should be speedy in what she had 
to do could not be Greater than her own. Her finders did 
their work as fast as they could, with every joint trembling. 
But though a weight like a mountain was upon the poor 
child's heart, she could not cry ; and she could not pray, — 
though true to her constant habit she fell on her knees by 
her bedside as she always did : it was in vain ; all was in a 
whirl in her heart and head, and after a minute she rose 
again, clasping her little hands together with an expression of 
sorrow that it was well her mother could not see. She was 
dressed very soon, but she shrank from going to her mother's 
room while her father was there. To save time she put on 
her coat, and everything but her bonnet and gloves ; and then 
stood leaning against the bedpost, for she could not sit down, 
watching with most intense anxiety to hear her father's step 
come out of the room and go down stairs. Every minute seemed 
too long to be borne ; poor Ellen began to feel as if she could 
not contain herself. Yet five had not passed away when she 
heard the roll of carriage wheels which came to the door 
and then stopped, and immediately her father opening the 
door to come out. Without waiting any longer Ellen opened 
her own, and brushed past him into the room he had quitted. 
Mrs. Montgomery was still lying on the bed, for her husband 
had insisted on her not rising. She said not a word, but 



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opened her arms to receive her little daughter ; and with a 
cry of indescribable expression Ellen sprang upon the bed, 
and was folded in them. But then neither of them spoke 
or wept. What could words say ? Heart met heart in that 
agony, for each knew all that was in the other. No, — not 
quite all. Ellen did not know that the whole of bitterness 
death had for her mother she was tasting then. But it was 
true. Death had no more power to give her pain after this part- 
ing should be over. His after- work, — the parting between soul 
and body, — would be welcome rather ; yes, very welcome. 
Mrs. Montgomery knew it all well. She knew this was the 
last embrace between them. She knew it was the very last 
time that dear little form would ever lie on her bosom, or be 
pressed in her arms ; and it almost seemed to her that soul 
and body must part company too when they should be rent 
asunder. Ellen's grief was not like this ; — she did not think 
it was the last time ; — but she was a child of very high spirit 
and violent passions, untamed at all by sorrow's discipline ; 
and in proportion violent was the tempest excited by this first 
real trial. Peril aps, too, her sorrow was sharpened by a 
sense of wrong and a feeling of indignation at her father's 
cruelty in not waking her earlier. 

Not many minutes had passed in this sad embrace, and 
no word had yet been spoken, no sound uttered, except 
Ellen's first inarticulate cry of mixed affection and despair, 
when Captain Montgomery's step was again heard slowly 
ascending the stairs. " He is coming to take me away S" 
thought Ellen ; and in terror lest she should go without a 
word from her mother, she burst forth with, " Mamma ! 
speak !" 

A moment before, and Mrs. Montgomery could not have 
spoken. But she could now ; and as clearly and calmly 
the words were uttered as if nothing had been the matter, 
only her voice fell a little towards the last. 

" God bless my darling child ! and make her his own, — and 
bring her to that home where parting canr.ot be." 

Ellen's eyes had been dry until now ; but when she heard 
the sweet sound of her mother's voice, it opened all the foun- 
tains of tenderness within her. She burst into uncontrolla- 
ble weeping ; it seemed as if she would pour out her very 
heart in tears ; and she clung to her mother with a force 



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77 



that made it a difficult task for her father to remove her. He 
could not do it at first ; and Ellen seemed not to hear any- 
thing that was said to her. He was very unwilling to use 
harshness ; and after a little, though she had paid no atten- 
tion to his entreaties or commands, yet sensible of the neces- 
sity of the case, she gradually relaxed her hold and suffered 
him to draw her away from her mother's arms. He carried 
her down stairs, and put her on the front seat of the carriage, 
beside Mrs. Dunscombe's maid, — but Ellen could never recol- 
lect how she got there, and she did not feel the touch of her 
father's hand, nor hear him when he bid her good-bye ; and 
she did not know that he put a large paper of candies 
and sugar-plums in her lap. She knew nothing but that 
she had lost her mother. 

" It will not be so long," said the Captain, in a kind of 
apologizing way ; " she will soon get over it, and you will 
not have any trouble with her." 

" I hope so," returned the lady, rather shortly ; and then, 
as the Captain was making his parting bow, she added, in no 
very pleased tone of voice, " Pray, Captain Montgomery, is 
this young lady to travel without a bonnet ?" 

" Bless me ! no," said the Captain. " How is this ? hasn't 
she a bonnet ? I beg a thousand pardons, ma'am, — I'll bring 
it on the instant." 

After a little delay, the bonnet was found, but the Captain 
overlooked the gloves in his hurry. 

" I am very sorry you have been delayed, ma'am," said he. 

" I hope we may be able to reach the boat yet," replied the 
lady. '* Drive on as fast as you can !" 

A very polite bow from Captain Montgomery — a very- 
slight one from the lady — and off they drove. 

" Proud enough," thought the Captain, as he went up the 
stairs again. "I reckon she don't thank me for her travel- 
ing companion. But Ellen's off — that's one good thing : — 
and now I'll go and engage berths in the England." 



CHAPTER VII. 



M So fair and foal a day I have not seen." 

Macbeth. 

The long drive to the boat was only a sorrowful blank to 
Ellen's recollection. She did not see the frowns that passed 
between her companions on her account. She did not know 
that her white bonnet was such a matter of merriment to 
Margaret Dunscombe and the maid, that they could hardly 
contain themselves. She did not find out that Miss Mar- 
garet's fingers were busy with her paper of sweets, which 
only a good string and a sound knot kept her from rifling. 
Yet she felt very well that nobody there cared in the least 
for her sorrow. It mattered nothing ; she wept on in her 
loneliness, and knew nothing that happened, till the carriage 
stopped on the wharf ; even then she did not raise her head. 
Mrs. Dunscombe got out, and saw her daughter and servant 
do the same ; then after giving some orders about the baggage, 
she returned to Ellen. 

" Will you get out, Miss Montgomery ? or would you 
prefer to remain in the carriage ? We must go on board 
directly." 

There was something, not in the words, but in the tone, 
that struck Ellen's heart with an entirely new feeling. Her 
tears stopped instantly, and wiping away quick the traces of 
them as well as she could, she got out of the carriage without 
a word, aided by Mrs. Dunscombe's hand. The party were 
presently joined by a fine-looking man, whom Ellen recognized 
as Captain Dunscombe. 

" Dunscombe, do put these girls on board, will you ? and 
then come back to me ; I want to speak to you. Timmins, 
you may go along and look after them." 

Captain Dunscombe obeyed. When they reached the 
deck, Margaret Dunscombe and the maid Timmins went 
straight to the cabin. Not feeling at all drawn towards their 



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79 



company, as indeed they had given her no reason, Ellen 
planted herself by the guards of the boat, not far from the 
gangway, to watch the busy scene that at another time would 
have had a great deal of interest and amusement for her. 
And interest it had now ; but it was with a very, very grave 
little face that she looked on the bustling crowd. The weight 
on her heart was just as great as ever, but she felt this was 
not the time or the place to let it be seen ; so for the present 
she occupied herself with what was passing before her, 
though it did not for one moment make her forget her 
sorrow. 

At last the boat rang her last bell. Captain Duns 
combe put his wife on board, and had barely time to jump 
off the boat again when the plank was withdrawn. The 
men on shore cast off the great loops of ropes that held 
the boat to enormous wooden posts on the wharf, and they 
were off ! 

At first it seemed to Ellen as if the wharf and the people 
upon it were sailing away from them backwards ; but she 
presently forgot to think of them at all. She was gone ! — 
she felt the. bitterness of the whole truth ; — the blue water 
already lay between her and the shore, where she so much 
longed to be. In that confused mass of buildings at which 
she was gazing, but which would be so soon beyond even 
gazing distance, was the only spot she cared for in the world ; 
her heart was there. She could not see the place, to be sure, 
nor tell exactly whereabouts it lay in all that wide-spread 
city ; but it was there, somewhere, — and every minute was 
making it farther and farther off, It's a bitter thing, that 
sailing away from all one loves ; and poor Ellen felt it so. 
She stood leaning both her arms upon the rail, the tears 
running down her cheeks, and blinding her so that she could 
not see the place toward which her straining eyes were bent. 
Somebody touched her sleeve, — it was Timmins. 

" Mrs. Dunscombe sent me to tell you she wants you to 
come into the cabin, miss." 

Hastily wiping her eyes, Ellen obeyed the summons, and 
followed Timmins into the cabin. It was full of groups of 
ladies, children, and nurses, — bustling and noisy enough. 
Ellen wished she might have stayed outside ; she wanted to 
be by herself ; but as the next best thing, she mounted upon 



80 



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the bench which ran all round the saloon, and kneeling 
on the cushion by one of the windows, placed herself with 
the edge of her bonnet just touching the glass, so that nobody 
could see a bit of her face, while she could look out near by as 
well as from the deck. Presently her ear caught, as she 
thought, the voice of Mrs. Dunscombe, saying in rather an 
undertone, but laughing too, " What a figure she does cut in 
that outlandish bonnet !" 

Ellen had no particular reason to think she was meant, and 
yet she did think so. She remained quite still, but with 
raised color and quickened breathing waited to hear what 
would come next. Nothing came at first, and she was begin- 
ning to think she had perhaps been mistaken, when she plainly 
heard Margaret Dunscombe say, in aloud whisper, " Mamma, 
I wish yo\x could contrive some way to keep her in the 
cabin, — can't you ? she looks so odd in that queer sunbonnet 
kind of a thing, that anybody would think she had come out 
of the woods, — and no gloves, too ; I shouldn't like to have 
the Miss M* Arthurs think she belonged to us ; — can't you, 
mamma ?" 

If a thunderbolt had fallen at Ellen's feet, the shock would 
hardly have been greater. The lightning of passion shot 
through every vein. And it was not passion only ; there was 
hurt feeling and wounded pride, and the sorrow of which her 
heart was full enough before, now wakened afresh. The 
child was beside herself. One wild wish for a hiding-place 
was the most pressing thought, — to be where tears could 
burst and her heart could break unseen. She slid off her 
bench and rushed through the crowd to the red curtain that 
cut off the far end of the saloon ; and from there down to the 
the cabin below, — people were everywhere. At last she 
spied a nook where she could be completely hidden. It was 
in the far-back end of the boat, just under the stairs by which 
she had come down. Nobody was sitting on the three or four 
large mahogany steps that ran round that end of the cabin 
and sloped up to the little cabin window ; and creeping be- 
neath the stairs, and seating herself on the lowest of these 
steps, the poor child found that she was quite screened and out 
of sight of every human creature. It was time indeed; her 
heart had been almost bursting with passion and pain, and 
now the pent-up tempest broke forth with a fury that racked 



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81 



her little frame from head to foot ; and the more because she 
strove to stifle every sound of it as much as possible. It was the 
very bitterness of sorrow, without any softening thought to allay 
it, and sharpened and made more bitter by mortification and a 
passionate sense of unkindness and wrong. And through it 
all, how constantly in her heart the poor child was reaching 
forth longing arms towards her far-off mother, and calling in 
secret on her beloved name. "Oh, mamma ! mamma !" was 
repeated numberless times, with the unspeakable bitterness 
of knowing that she would have been a sure refuge and pro- 
tection from all this trouble, but was now where she could 
neither reach nor hear her. Alas ! how soon and how sadly 
missed. 

Ellen's distress was not soon quieted, or, if quieted for a 
moment, it was only to break out afresh. And then she was 
glad to sit still and rest herself. 

Presently she heard the voice of the chambermaid up- 
stairs, at a distance at first, and coming nearer and nearer. 
"Breakfast ready, ladies — Ladies, breakfast ready !" — and 
then came all the people in a rush, pouring down the stairs 
over Ellen's head. She kept quite still and close, for she 
did not want to see anybody, and could not bear that anybody 
should see her. Nobody did see her ; they all went off into 
the next cabin, where breakfast was set. Ellen began to 
grow tired of her hiding place and to feel restless in her con- 
finement; she thought this would be a good time to get 
away ; so she crept from her station under the stairs and 
mounted them as quick and as quietly as she could. She 
found almost nobody left in the saloon, — and breathing more 
freely, she possessed herself of her despised bonnet, which 
she had torn off her head in the first burst of her indigna- 
tion, and passing gently out at the door, went up the stairs 
which led to the promenade deck ; — she felt as if she could 
not get far enough from Mrs. Dunscombe. 

O CD 

The promenade deck was very pleasant in the bright morn- 
ing sun ; and nobody was there except a few gentlemen. 
Ellen sat down on one of the settees that were ranged along 
the middle of it, and, much pleased at having found herself 
such a nice place of retreat, she once more took up her inter- 
rupted amusement of watching the banks of the river. 
5 



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It was a fair, mild day, near the end of October, and one 
of the loveliest of that lovely month. Poor Ellen, however, 
could not fairly enjoy it just now. There was enough dark- 
ness in her heart to put a veil over all nature's brightness. 
The thought did pass through her mind when she first went 
up, how very fair everything was ; — but she soon forgot to 
think about it at all. They were now in a wide part of the 
river ; and the shore towards which she was looking was low 
and distant, and offered nothing to interest her. She ceased 
to look at it, and presently lost all sense of everything 
around and before her, for her thoughts went home. She 
remembered that sweet moment last night when she lay in 
her mother's arms, after she had stopped singing, could 
it be only last night ? it seemed a long, long time ago. She 
went over again in imagination her shocked waking up that 
very morning, — how cruel that was! — her hurried dress- 
ing, — the miserable parting, — and those last words of her 
mother, that seemed to ring in her ears yet. " That home 
where parting cann'ot be." "Oh," thought Ellen, "how 
shall I ever get there ? who is there to teach me now ? O, 
what shall 1 do without you ? 0, mamma ! how much 1 
want you already !" 

While poor Ellen was thinking these things over and over, 
her little face had a deep sadness of expression it was sor- 
rowful to see. She was perfectly calm ; her violent excite- 
ment had all left her; her lip quivered a very little some- 
times, but that was all ; and one or two tears rolled slowly 
down the side of her face. Her eyes were fixed upon the 
dancing water, but it was very plain her thoughts were not, 
nor on anything else before her ; and there was a forlorn 
look of hopeless sorrow on her lip and cheek and brow, enough 
to move anybody whose heart was not very hard. She was 
noticed, and with a feeling of compassion, by several people : 
but they all thought it was none of their business to speak 
to her, or they didn't know how. At length, a gentleman 
who had been for some time walking up and down the deck, 
happened to look, as he passed, at her little pale face. He 
went to the end of his walk that time, but in coming back he 
stopped just in front of her, and bending down his face 
towards hers, said, " What is the matter with you, my little 
friend ?" 



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83 



Though his figure had passed before her a great many 
times Ellen had not seen him at all ; for "her eyes were with 
her heart, and that was far away." Her cheek flushed with 
surprise as she looked up. But there was no mistaking the 
look of kindness in the eyes that met hers, nor the gentle- 
nsss and grave truthfulness of the whole countenance. It 
won her confidence immediately. All the floodgates of 
Ellen's heart were at once opened. She could not speak, 
but rising and clasping the hand that was held out to her in 
both her own, she bent down her head upon it, and burst in- 
to one of those uncontrollable agonies of weeping, such as the 
news of her mother's intended departure had occasioned that 
first sorrowful evening. He gently, and as soon as he could, 
drew her to a retired part of the deck where they were com- 
paratively free from other people's eyes and ears ; then 
taking her in his arms he endeavored by many kind and 
soothing words to stay the torrent of her grief. This fit of 
weeping did Ellen more good than the former one ; that only 
exhausted, this in some little measure relieved her. 

" What is all this about ?" said her friend kindly. " Nay. 
never mind shedding any more tears about it, my child. 
Let me hear what it is ; and perhaps we can find some help 
for it." 

" Oh no you can't, sir," said Ellen sadly. 

" Well, let us see," said he, — " perhaps I can. What is it 
that has troubled you so much ?" 

" I have lost my mother, sir," said Ellen. 

" Your mother ! Lost her ! —how ?" 

<£ She is very ill, sir, and obliged to go away over the sea 
to France to get well; and papa could not take me with her," 
said poor Ellen, weeping again, " and I am obliged to go 
to be among strangers. O what shall I do !" 

" Have you left your mother in the city ?" 
Oh yes, sir ! I left her this morning." 

" What is your name ?" 

" Ellen Montgomery." 

" Is your mother obliged to go to Europe for her health ?" 

" Oh yes, sir ; nothing else would have made her go, but 
the doctor said she would not live long if she didn't go, and 
that would cure her." 



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" Then you hope to see her come back by-and-by, don't 

you?" 

" Oh yes, sir ; but it won't be this great, great, long while ; 
it seems to me as if it was for ever." 

" Ellen, do you know who it is that sends sickness and 
trouble upon us ?" 

" Yes, sir, I know ; but I don't feel that that makes it any 
easier." 

" Do you know why he sends it ? He is the God of love, 
— he does not trouble us willingly, — he has said so ; — why 
does lie ever make us suffer ? do you know ?" 

" No, sir." 

" Sometimes he sees that if he lets them alone, his children 
will love some dear thing on the earth better than himself, 
and he knows they will not be happy if they do so ; and 
then, because he loves them, he takes it away, — perhaps it is a 
dear mother, or a dear daughter, — or else he hinders their 
enjoyment of it ; that they may remember him, and give their 
whole hearts to him. He wants their whole hearts, that he 
may bless them. Are you one of his children, Ellen ?" 

" No, sir," said Ellen, with swimming eyes, but cast down 
to the ground. 

" How do you know that you are not ?" 

" Because I do not love the Saviour." 

"Do you not love him, Ellen ?" 

" I am afraid not, sir." 

" Why are you afraid not ? what makes you think so ?" 

" Mamma said I could not love him at all if I did not love 
him best ; and oh, sir," said Ellen weeping, " I do love 
mamma a great deal better." 

" You love your mother better than you do the Saviour ?" 

" Oh yes, sir," said Ellen ; " how can I help it ?" 

" Then if he had left you your mother, Ellen, you would 
never have cared or thought about him ?" 

Ellen was silent. 

" Is it so ? — would you, do you think ?" 

" I don't know, sir," said Ellen, weeping again, — " oh, sir ! 
how can I help it ?" 

'.' Then, Ellen, can you not see the love of your Heavenly 
Father in this trial ? He saw that his little child was in 
danger of forgetting him, and he loved you, Ellen ; and so 



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85 



he has taken your dear mother, and sent you away where you 
will have no one to look to but him ; and now he says to you, 
' My daughter, give me thy heart.' — Will you do it, Ellen ?" 

Ellen wept exceedingly while the gentleman was saying 
these words, clasping his hands still in both hers ; but she 
made no answer. He waited till she had become calmer, and 
then went on in a low tone, — 

" What is the reason that you do not love the Saviour, my 
child ?" 

" Mamma says it is because my heart is so hard." 

" That is true ; but you do not know how good and how 
lovely he is, or you could not help loving him. Do you often 
think of him, and think much of him, and ask him to show 
you himself that you may love him ?" 

" No, sir," said Ellen, — " not often." 

" You pray to him, don't you ?" 

" Yes, sir ; but not so." 

" But you ought to pray to him so. We are all blind by 
nature, Ellen ; — we are all hard-hearted ; — none of us can see 
him or love him unless he opens our eyes and touches our 
hearts ; but he has promised to do this for those that seek 
him. Do you remember what the blind man said when 
Jesus asked him what he should do for him? — he answered, 
' Lord, that I may receive my sight !' That ought to be 
your prayer now, and mine too ; and the Lord is just as 
ready to hear us as he was to hear the poor blind man ; and 
you know he cured him. Will you ask him, Ellen ?" 

A smile was almost struggling through Ellen's tears as she 
lifted her face to that of her friend, but she instantly looked 
down again. 

" Shall I put you in mind, Ellen, of some things about 
Christ that ought to make you love him with all your heart ?" 
" Oh yes, sir ! if you please." 

" Then tell me first what it is that makes you love your 
mother so much ?" 

" 0, I can't tell you, sir ; — everything, I think." 

" I suppose the great thing is that she loves you so much ?" 

" Oh yes, sir," said Ellen strongly. 

" But how do you know that she loves you ? how has she 
shown it?" 



86 



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Ellen looked at him, but could give no answer ; it seemed 
to her that she must bring the whole experience of her life 
before him to form one. 

" 1 suppose," said her friend, " that, to begin with the 
smallest thing, she has always been watchfully careful to pro- 
vide everything that could be useful or necessary for you : — 
she never forgot your wants, or was careless about them ?" 

" No indeed, sir." 

" And perhaps you recollect that she never minded trouble 
or expense or pain where your good was concerned ; — she 
would sacrifice her own pleasure at any time for yours ?" 

Ellen's eyes gave a quick and strong answer to this, but 
she said nothing. 

" And in all your griefs and pleasures you were sure of 
finding her ready and willing to feel with you and for you, 
and to help you if she could ? And in all the times you 
have seen her tried, no fatigue ever wore out her patience, 
nor any naughtiness of yours ever lessened her love ; she 
could not be weary of waiting upon you when you were sick, 
nor of bearing with you when you forgot your duty, — more 




" Oh yes, sir." 

" And you can recollect a great many words and looks of 
kindness and love — many and many endeavors to teach you 
And lead you in the right way — all showing the strongest 
desire for your happiness in this world, and in the next ?" 

" Oh yes, sir," said Ellen tearfully; and then added, "Do 
you know my mother, sir?" 

" No," said he, smiling, " not at all ; but my own mother has 
been in many things like this to me, and I judged yours 
might have been such to you. Have I described her right ?" 

" Yes indeed, sir," said Ellen ; — " exactly." 

" And in return for all this, you have given this dear mo- 
ther the love and gratitude of vour whole heart, haven't 
you?" 

" Indeed I have, sir ;" and Ellen's face said it more than 
her words. 

" You are very right," he said gravely, " to love such a 
mother — to give her all possible duty and affection ; — she 
deserves it. But, Ellen, in all these very things I have been 



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87 



mentioning, Jesus Christ has shown that he deserves it far 
more. Do you think, if you had never behaved like a child 
to your mother — if you had never made her the least return 
of love or regard — that she would have continued to love you 
as she does ?" 

" No, sir," said Ellen, — " I do not think she would." 

" Have you ever made any fit return to God for his good- 
ness to you ?" 

" No, sir," said Ellen, in a low tone. 

" And yet there has been no change in his kindness. Just 
look at it, and see what he has done and is doing for you. In 
the first place, it is not your mother, but he, who has given 
you every good and pleasant thing you have enjoyed in your 
whole life. You love your mother because she is so careful to 
provide for all your wants ; but who gave her the materials to 
work with ? she has only been, as it were, the hand by which 
he supplied you. And who gave you such a mother ? — there are 
many mothers not like her ; — who put into her heart the truth 
and love that have been blessing you ever since you were 
born ? It is all — all God's doing, from first to last ; but his 
child has forgotten him in the very gifts of his mercy." 

Ellen was silent, but looked very grave. 

" Your mother never minded her own ease or pleasure when 
your good was concerned. Did Christ mind his ? You know 
what he did to save sinners, don't you ?" 

" Yes, sir, I know ; mamma often told me." 

f* 1 Though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, 
that we through his poverty might be rich.' He took your 
burden of sin upon himself, and suffered that terrible punish- 
ment — all to save you, and such as you. And now he asks 
his children to leave orT sinning and come back to him who has 
bought them with his own blood. He did this because he 
loved you ; does he not deserve to be loved in return ? 

Ellen had nothing to say ; she hung down her head further 
and further. 

" And patient and kind as your mother is, the Lord Jesus 
is kinder and more patient still. In all your life so far, Ellen, 
you have not loved or obeyed him ; and yet he loves you, and 
is ready to be your friend. Is he not even to-day taking 
away your dear mother for the very purpose that he may 
draw you gently to himself and fold you in his arms, as he 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



has promised to do with his lambs ? He knows you can never 
be happy anywhere else." 

The gentleman paused again, for he saw that the little 
listener's mind was full. 

" Has not Christ shown that he loves you better even than 
your mother does ? And were there ever sweeter words of 
kindness than these ? — 

" ' Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid 
them not ; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' " 

" ' I am the good shepherd ; the good shepherd giveth his 
life for the sheep.' 

" ' I have loved thee with an everlasting love ; therefore 
with loving kindness have I drawn thee.' " 

He waited a minute, and then added, gently, " Will you 
come to him, Ellen ?" 

Ellen lifted her tearful eyes to his ; but there were tears 
there too, and her own sank instantly. She covered her face 
with her hands, and sobbed out in broken words, " Oh, if I 
could ! — but I don't know how." 

"Do you wish to be his child, Ellen ?" 

" Oh yes, sir — if I could." 

" I know, my child, that sinful heart of yours is in the 
way, but the Lord Jesus can change it, and will, if you will 
give it to him. He is looking upon you now, Ellen, with 
more kindness and love than any earthly father or mother 
could, waiting for you to give that little heart of yours to 
him, that he may make it holy and fill it with blessing. He 
says, you know, ' Behold I stand at the door and knock.' Do 
not grieve him away, Ellen." 

Ellen sobbed, but all the passion and bitterness of her tears 
was gone. Her heart was completely melted. 

" If your mother were here, and could do for you what you 
want, would you doubt her love to do it ? would you have 
any difficulty in asking her ?" 

" Oh no !" 

" Then do not doubt his love who loves you better still. 
Come to Jesus. Do not fancy he is away up in heaven out 
of reach or hearing, — he is here, close to you, and knows 
every wish and throb of your heart. Think you are in his 
presence and at his feet, — even now, — and say to him in 
your heart, ' Lord, look upon me— I am not fit to come to 



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88 



thee, but thou hast bid me come — take me and make me 
thine own — take this hard heart that I can do nothing with, 
and make it holy and fill it with thy love — I give it and 
myself into thy hands, dear Saviour !' " 

These words were spoken very low, that only Ellen could 
catch them. Her bowed head sank lower and lower till he 
ceased speaking. He added no more for some time ; waited 
till she had resumed her usual attitude and appearance, and 
then said, — 

" Ellen, could you join in heart with my words ?" 
" I did, sir, — I couldn't help it, — all but the last." 
" All but the last ?" 
" Yes, sir." 

" But, Ellen, if you say the first part of my prayer with 
your whole heart, the Lord will enable you to say the last 
too, — do you believe that ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Will you not make that your constant prayer till you are 
heard and answered ?" 
"Yes, sir." 

And he thought he saw that she was in earnest. 

" Perhaps the answer may not come at once, — it does not 
always ; — but it will come, as surely as the sun will rise to- 
morrow morning. ' Then shall we know, if we follow on to 
know the Lord.' But then you must be in earnest. And if 
you are in earnest, is there nothing you have to do besides 
praying V 

Ellen looked at him without making any answer. 
" When a person is in earnest, how does he show it ?" 
" By doing everything he possibly can to get what he 
wants." 

" Quite right," said her friend, smiling ; — " and has God 
bidden us do nothing besides pray for a new heart ?" 

" yes, sir, — he has told us to do a great many things." 

" And will he be likely to grant that prayer, Ellen, if he 
sees that you do not care about displeasing him in those 
' great many things ?' — will he judge that you are sincere in 
wishing for a new heart V* 

" Oh no, sir !" 

" Then if you are resolved to be a Christian, you will not bt 
contented with praying for a new heart, but you will begin 
5* 



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at once to be a servant of God. You can do nothing well 
without help, but you are sure the help will come ; and from 
this good day you will seek to know and to do the will of 
God, trusting in his dear son to perfect that which concerneth 
you. — My little child," said the gentleman softly and kindly, 
" are you ready to say you will do this ?" 

As she hesitated, he took a little book from his pocket, and 
turning over the leaves, said, " I am going to leave you for a 
little while — I have a few moment's business down stairs to 
attend to ; and I want you to look over this hymn and think 
carefully of what I have been saying, will you ? — and resolve 
what you will do." 

Ellen got off his knee, where she had been sitting all this 
while, and silently taking the book, sat down in the chair he 
had quitted. Tears ran fast again, and many thoughts passed 
through her mind, as her eyes went over and over the words 
to which he had pointed : 

" Behold the Saviour at thy door, 

He gently knocks, — has knocked before, — 
Has waited long, — is waiting still, — 
You treat no other friend so ill. 

" Oh lovely attitude ! — he stands 

With open heart and outstretched hands. 
Oh matchless kindness ! — and he shows 
This matchless kindness to his foes. 

" Admit him— for the human breast 
Ne'er entertained so kind a guest. 
Admit him — or the hour's at hand 
When at his door, denied, you'll stand. 

" Open my heart, Lord, enter in ; 
Slay every foe, and conquersin. 
Here now to thee I all resign. — 
My body, soul, and all are thine." 

The last two lines Ellen longed to say, but could not ; the 
two preceding were the very speech of her heart. 

Not more than fifteen minutes had passed when her friend 
came back again. The book hung in Ellen's hand ; her eyes 
were fixed on the floor. 

" Well," he said kindly, and taking her hand, " what's your 
decision ?" 

Ellen looked up. 

" Have you made up your mind on that matter we were 
talking about ?" 



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91 



" Yes, sir," Ellen said in a low voice, casting her eyes 
down again. 

" And how have you decided, my child ?" 
" I will try to do as you said, sir." 

" You will begin to follow your Saviour, and to please 
him, from this day forward ?" 

" I will try, sir," said Ellen, meeting his eyes as she 
spoke. Again the look she saw made her burst into tears. 
She wept violently. 

" God bless you and help you, my dear Ellen," said he, 
gently passing his hand over her head ; — " but do not cry 
any more — you have shed too many tears this morning already. 
We will not talk about this any more now." 

And he spoke only soothing and quieting words for a while 
to her ; and then asked if she would like to go over the boat 
and see the different parts of it. Ellen's joyful agreement 
with this proposal was only qualified by the fear of giving 
him trouble. But he put that entirely by. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



Time and the hour run through the roughest day. 

SHAKSPEARk. 

The going over the boat held them a long time, for Ellen's 
new friend took kind pains to explain to her whacever he 
thought he could make interesting ; he was amused to find 
how far she pushed her inquiries into the how and the why 
of things. For the time her sorrows were almost forgotten. 

" What shall we do now ?" said he, when they had at last 
gone through the whole ; — " would you like to go to your 
friends ?" 

" I haven't any friends on board, sir," said Ellen, with a 
swelling heart. 

" Haven't any friends on board ! what do you mean ? 
Are you alone ?" 

" No sir," said Ellen, — " not exactly alone ; my father put 
me in the care of a lady that is going to Thirlwall ; — but they 
are strangers and not friends." 

" Are they wrcfriends ? I hope you don't think Ellen, that 
strangers cannot be friends too?" 

" No indeed, sir, I don't ! " said Ellen, looking up with a 
face that was fairly brilliant with its expression of gratitude 
and love. But casting it down again, she added, " But they 
are not my friends, sir." 

" Well then," he said, smiling, " will you come with me ;" 

4 ' yes sir ! if you will let me, — and if I sha'n't be a 
trouble to you, sir." 

" Come this way," said he, " and we'll see if we cannot 
find a nice place to sit down, where no one will trouble us." 

Such a place was found. And Ellen would have been 
quite satisfied though the gentleman had done no more than 
merely permit her to remain there by his side ; but he took 



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93 



out his little Bible, and read and talked to her for some time, 
so pleasantly that neither her weariness nor the way could be 
thought of. 

When he ceased reading to her and began to read to 
himself, weariness and faintness stole over her. She had had 
nothing to eat, and had been violently excited that day. A 
little while she sat in a dreamy sort of quietude, — then her 
thoughts grew misty, — and the end of it was, she dropped her 
head against the arm of her friend and fell fast asleep. He 
smiled at first, but one look at the very pale little face 
changed the expression of his own. He gently put his arm 
round her and drew her head to a better resting-place than 
it had chosen. 

And there she slept till the dinner-bell rang. Timmins 
was sent out to look for her, but Timmins did not choose to 
meddle with the grave protector Ellen seemed to have gained ; 
and Mrs. Dunscombe declared herself rejoiced that any other 
hands should have taken the charge of her. 

After dinner, Ellen and her friend went up to the prome- 
nade deck again, and there for a while they paced up and 
down, enjoying the pleasant air and quick motion, and the 
lovely appearance of everything in the mild hazy sunlight. 
Another gentleman however joining them, and entering into 
conversation, Ellen silently quitted her friend's hand and went 
and sat down at the side of the boat. After taking a few 
turns more, and while still engaged in talking, he drew his 
little hymn-book out of his pocket, and with a smile put it 
into Ellen's hand as he passed. She gladly received it, and 
spent an hour or more very pleasantly in studying and turn- 
ing it over. At the end of that time, the stranger having 
left him, Ellen's friend came and sat down by her side. 

" How do you like my little book ?" said he. 

" very much indeed, sir." 

" Then you love hymns, do you?" 

" Yes I do, sir, dearly." 

" Do you sometimes learn them by heart ?" 

" yes, sir, often. Mamma often made me. I have 
learnt two since I have been sitting here." 

" Have you ?" said he ; — " which are they ?" 

" One of them is the one you showed me thi? nwn- 
ing, sir." 



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" And what is your mind now about the question I asked 
you this morning ?" 

Ellen cast down her eyes from his inquiring glance, and 
answered in a low tone, " Just what it was then, sir." 

" Have you been thinking of it since ?" 

" I have thought of it the whole time, sir." 

" And you are resolved you will obey Christ henceforth ?" 

" I am resolved to try, sir." 

" My dear Ellen, if you are in earnest you will not try in 
vain. He never yet failed any that sincerely sought him. 
Have you a Bible?" 

*' O yes, sh ! a beautiful one ; mamma gave it to me the 
other day." 

He took the hymn book from her hand, and turning over 
the leaves, marked several places in pencil. 

" I am going to give you this," he said, " that it may 
serve to remind you of what we have talked of to-day, and 
of your resolution." 

Ellen flushed high with pleasure. 

" I have put this mark," said he, showing her a particular 
one, " in a few places of this book, for you ; wherever you 
find it, you may know there is something I want you to take 
special notice of. There are some other marks here too, but 
they are mine : these are for you." 

" Thank you, sir," said Ellen, delighted ; " I shall not 
forget." 

He knew from her face what she meant ; — not the marks. 

The day wore on, thanks to the unwearied kindness of her 
friend, with great comparative comfort to Ellen. Late in 
the afternoon they were resting from a long walk up and 
down the deck. 

" What have you got in this package that you take such 
care of?" said he, smiling. 

" ! candies," said Ellen ; "I am always forgetting 
them. I meant to ask you to take some. Will you have 
some, sir?" 

" Thank you. What are they ?" 

" Almost all kinds, I believe, sir ; I think the almonds are 
the best." 
He took one. 



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95 



"Pray, take some more, sir," said Ellen; — " I don't care 
for them in the least." 

" Then I am more of a child than ycu, — in this at any 
rate, — for I do care for them. But I have a little headache 
to-day ; I mustn't meddle with sweets." 

" Then take some for to-morrow, sir ; — please do 1*' said 
Ellen, dealing them out very freely. 

" Stop, stop !" said he, — " not a bit more ; this won't 
do, — I must put some of these back again ; you'll want them 
to-morrow too." 

" I don't think I shall," said Ellen ; — " I haven't wanted to 
touch them to-day." 

" 0, you'll feel brighter to-morrow, after a night's sleep. 
But aren't you afraid of catching cold ? This wind is blow- 
ing pretty fresh, and you've been bonnetless all day ; — what's 
the reason ?" 

Ellen looked down, and coloured a good deal. 

'* What's the matter?" said he, laughing ; " has any mis- 
chief befallen your bonnet?" 

" No, sir," said Ellen in a low tone, her color mounting 
higher and higher; — " it was laughed at this morning." 

" Laughed at ! — who laughed at it ?" 

" Mrs. Dunscombe and her daughter, and her maid." 

" Did they ! I don't see much reason in that, I confess. 
What did they think was the matter with it ?" 

" I don't know, sir ; — they said it was outlandish, and what 
a figure I looked in it." 

" Well, certainly that was not very polite. Put it on and 
let me see." 

Ellen obeyed. 

" I am not the best judge of ladies' bonnets, it is true," 
said he, " but I can see nothing about it that is not perfectly 
proper and suitable, — nothing in the world ! So that is what 
has kept you bareheaded all day ? Didn't your mother wish 
you to wear that bonnet?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Then that ought to be enough for you. Will you be 
ashamed of what she approved, because some people that 
haven't probably half her sense choose to make merry with 
it ? — is that right ?" he said gently, " Is that honouring her 
as she deserves ?" 



96 



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" No, sir," said Ellen, looking up into his face, " but I 
never thought of that before ; — I am sorry." 

" Never mind being laughed at, my child. If your mo- 
ther says a thing is right, that's enough for you — let them 
laugh !" 

" I won't be ashamed of my bonnet any more," said Ellen, 
tying it on ; " but they made me very unhappy about it, and 
very angry too." 

" I am sorry for that," said her friend, gravely. " Have 
you quite got over it, Ellen ?" 

" O yes, sir, — long ago." 

" Are you sure V 

" I am not angry now, sir." 

" Is there no unkindness left towards the people who 
laughed at you ?" 

" I don't like them much," said Ellen ; — "how can I ?" 

"You cannot of course like the company of ill-behaved 
people, and I do not wish that you should ; but you can and 
ought to feel just as kindly disposed towards them as if they 
had never offended you — just as willing and inclined to please 
them or do them good. Now, could you offer Miss — what's 
her name ? — some of your candies with as hearty good-will 
as you could before she laughed at you ?" 

" No, sir, I couldn't. I don't feel as if I ever wished to 
see them again." 

" Then, my dear Ellen, you have something to do, if you 
were in earne.-t in the resolve you made this morning. ' If 
ye forgive unto men their trespasses, my Heavenly Father 
will also forgive you ; but if ye forgive not men their tres- 
passes, neither will my f;ither forgive your trespasses !' " 

He was silent, and so was Ellen, for some time. His words 
had raised a struggle in her mind ; and she kept her face 
turned towards the shore, so that her bonnet shielded it from 
view; but she did not in the legist know what she was looking 
at. The sun had been some time descending through a sky 
of cloudless splendor, and now was just kissing the moun- 
tain tops of the western horizon. Slowly and with great 
majesty he sank behind the distant blue line, till only a glit- 
tering edge appeared, — and then that was gone. There were 
no clouds hanging over his setting, to be gilded and purpled 



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07 



by the parting rays, but a region of glory long remained, to 
show where his path had been. 

The eyes of both were fixed upon this beautiful scene, but 
only one was thinking of it. Just as the last glimpse of the 
sun disappeared Ellen turned her face, bright again, towards 
her companion. He was intently gazing towards the hills 
that had so drawn Ellen's attention a while ago, and thinking 
still more intently, it was plain ; so though her mouth had 
been open to speak, she turned her face away again as sud- 
denly as it had just sought his. He saw the motion, however. 

" What is it, Ellen ?" he said. 

Ellen looked again with a smile. ' 

" I have been thinking, sir, of what you said to me." 

" Well ?" said he, smiling in answer. 

" I can't like Mrs. Dunscombe and Miss Dunscombe as well 
as if they hadn't done so to me, but I will try to behave as 
if nothing had been the matter, and be as kind and polite to 
them as if they had been kind and polite to me." 

" And how about the sugar-plums ?" 

" The sugar-plums ! 0," said Ellen, laughing, " Miss Mar- 
garet may have them all if she likes — I'm quite willing. Not 
but I had rather give them to you, sir." 

" You give me something a great deal better when I see 
you try to overcome a wrong feeling. You mustn't rest till 
you get rid of every bit of ill-will that you feel for this and 
any other unkindness you may suffer. You cannot do it 
yourself, but you know who can help you. I hope you have 
asked him, Ellen ?" 

"I have, sir, indeed." 

" Keep asking him, and he will do everything for you." 

A silence of some length followed. Ellen began to feel 
very much the fatigue of this exciting day, and sat quietly by 
her friend's side, leaning against him. The wind had changed 
about sundown, and now blew light from the south, so that 
they did not feel it all. 

The light gradually faded away, till only a silver glow in 
the west showed where the sun had set, and the sober gray 
of twilight was gently stealing over all the bright colors of 
sky, and river, and hill ; now and then a twinkling light began 
to appear along the shores. 

" You are very tired," said Ellen's friend to her, — " I see 



98 



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you are. A little more patience, my child ; — we shall be at 
our journey's end before a very great while." 

" I am almost sorry," said Ellen, "though I am tired. We 
don't go in the steamboat to-morrow ; do we, sir?" 

" No, — in the stage." 

" Shall you be in the stage, sir ?" 

" No, my child. But I am glad you and I have spent this 
day together." 

" Oh, sir !" said Ellen, " I don't know what I should have 
done if it hadn't been for you !" 

There was silence again, and the gentleman almost thought 
his little charge had fallen asleep, she sat so still. But she 
suddenly spoke again, and in a tone of voice that showed 
sleep was far away. 

* I wish I knew where mamma is now !" 

" I do not doubt, my child, from what you told me, that 
it is well with her wherever she is. Let that thought comfort 
you whenever you remember her." 

" She must want me so much," said poor Ellen, in a 
scarcely audible voice. 

'* She has not lost her best friend, my child." 

" I know it, sir," said Ellen, with whom grief was now 
getting the mastery, — " but ! it's just near the time when I 
used to make the tea for her — who'll make it now ? she'll want 
me, — oh what shall I do !" and overcome completely by this 
recollection, she threw herself into her friend's arms and 
sobbed aloud. 

There was no reasoning against this. He did not attempt 
it ; but with the utmost gentleness and tenderness endeavored, 
as soon as he might, to soothe and calm her. He succeeded 
at last ; with a sort of despairing submission, Ellen ceased 
her tears, and arose to her former position. But he did not 
rest from his kind endeavors till her mind was really eased 
and comforted ; which, however, was not long before the lights 
of a city began to appear in the distance. And with them 
appeared a dusky figure ascending the stairs, which, upon 
nearer approach, proved by the voice to be Timmins. 

" Is this Miss Montgomery ?" said she ; — " I can't see, I 
am sure, it's so dark. Is that you, Miss Montgomery ?" 

" Yes," said Ellen, u it is I ; do you want me V 1 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 99 



" If you please, Miss, Mrs. Dunscombe wants you to come 
right down ; we're almost in, she says, Miss. 

" I'll come directly, Miss Timmins," said Ellen. " Don't 
wait for me. — I won't be a minute, — I'll come directly." 

Miss Timmins retired, standing still a good deal in awe of 
the grave personage whose protection Ellen seemed to have 
gained. 

" I must go," said Ellen, standing up and extending her 
hand ; — " Good-bye, sir." 

She could hardly say it. He drew her towards him and 
kissed her cheek once or twice ; it was well he did ; for it sent 
a thrill of pleasure to Ellen's heart that she did not get over 
that evening, nor all the next day. 

" God bless you, my child," he said, gravely but cheerfully ; 
" and good night ! — you will feel better 1 trust when you 
have had some rest and refreshment." 

He took care of her down the stairs, ?nd saw her safe to 
the very door of the saloon, and within it ; and there again 
took her hand and kindly bade her good night ! 

Ellen entered the saloon only to sit down and cry as if her 
heart would break. She saw and heard nothing till Mrs. 
Dunscombe's voice bade her make haste and be ready, for 
they were going ashore in five minutes. 

And in less than five minutes ashore they went. 

" Which hotel, ma'am ? " asked the servant who carried 
her baggage, — " the Eagle, or Foster's ? " 

"The Eagle," said Mrs. Dunscombe. 

" Come this way then, ma'am," said another man, the 
driver of the Eagle carriage, — " Now ma'am, step in, if you 
please." 

Mrs. Dunscombe put her daughter in. 

" But it's full ! " said she to the driver ; " there isn't room 
for another one ! " 

" yes, ma'am, there is," said the driver, holding the door 
open; "there's plenty of room for you, ma'am. — just get in, 
ma'am, if you please, — we'll be there in less that two 
minutes." 

" Timmins, you'll have to walk," said Mrs. Dunscombe. 
"Miss Montgomery, would you rather ride, or walk with 
Timmins ? " 



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" How far is it, ma'am ? " said Ellen. 

" O bless me ! how can I tell how far it is ? I don't know, 
I am sure, — not far ; — say quick, — would you rather walk or 
ride ?" 

" I would rather walk, ma'am, if you please," said Ellen. 

" Very well," said Mrs. Dunscombe, getting in ; — " Tim- 
mins, you know the way." 

And off went the coach with it's load ; but tired as she 
was, Ellen did not wish herself along. 

Picking a passage-way out of the crowd, she and Timmins 
now began to make their way up one of the comparatively 
quiet streets. 

It was a strange place — that she felt. She had lived long 
enough in the place she had left to feel at home there ; but 
here she came to no street or crossing that she had ever seen 
before ; nothing looked familiar ; all reminded her that she 
was a traveler. Only one pleasant thing Ellen saw on her 
walk, and that was the sky ; and that looked just as it did at 
home ; and very often Ellen's gaze was fixed upon it, much 
to the astonishment of Miss Timmins, who had to be not a 
little watchful for the safety of Ellen's feet while her eyes 
were thus employed. She had taken a great fancy to Ellen, 
however, and let her do as she pleased, keeping all her 
wonderment to herself. 

" Take care, Miss Ellen !" cried Timmins, giving her arm a 
great pull, — "I declare I just saved you out of that gutter! 
poor child ! you are dreadfully tired, aint you?" 

"Yes, I am very tired, Miss Timmins," said Ellen, " have 
we much further to go ?" 

" Not a great deal, dear ; cheer up ! we are almost there. 
I hope Mrs. Dunscombe will want to ride one of these days 
herself, and can't." 

" O don't say so, Miss Timmins," said Ellen, — " I don't 
wish so, indeed." 

" Well I should think you would," said Timmins, — " I 
should think you 'd be fit to poison her ; — / should, I know, 
if I was in your place." 

" no," said Ellen, " that wouldn't be right, — that 
would be very wrong." 

" Wrong !" said Timmins, — " why would it be wrong ? 
she hasn't behaved good to you." 



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101 



" Yes," said Ellen, — " but don't you know the Bible says 
if we do not forgive people what they do to us, we shall not 
be forgiven ourselves ?" 

" Well, I declare !" said Miss Timmins, " you beat all ! 
But here's the Eagle hotel at last, — and I am glad for your 
sake, dear." 

Ellen was shown into the ladies' parlor. She was longing 
for a place to rest, but she saw directly it was not to be 
there. The room was large, and barely furnished ; and 
round it were scattered part of the carriage-load of people 
that had arrived a quarter of an hour before her. They 
were waiting till their rooms should be ready. Ellen silently 
found herself a chair and sat down to wait with the rest, as 
patiently as she might. Few of them had as much cause for 
impatience ; but she was the only perfectly mute and uncom- 
plaining one there. Her two companions however, between 
them, fully made up her share of fretting. At length, a 
servant brought the welcome news that their room was ready, 
and the three marched up stairs. It made Ellen's very heart 
glad when they got there, to find a good-sized, cheerful- 
looking bed-room, comfortably furnished, with a bright fire 
burning, large curtains let down to the floor, and a nice 
warm carpet upon it. Taking off her bonnet, and only that, 
she sat down on a low cushion by the corner of the fire-place, 
and leaning her head against the jamb fell fast asleep almost 
immediately. Mrs. Dunscombe set about arranging herself 
for the tea-table. 

H Well !" she said, — " one day of this precious journey is 
over !" 

" Does Ellen go with us to-morrow, mamma ?" 
" Oh, yes !— quite to Thirlwall." 

"Well you haven't had much plague with her to-day, 
mamma." 

" No — I am sure I am much obliged to whoever has kept 
her out of my way." 

" Where is she going to sleep to-night ?" asked Miss 
Margaret. 

"I don't know, I am sure. — I suppose I shall have to have 
a cot brought in here for her." 

" What a plague !" said Miss Margaret. " It will lumber 



102 



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up the room so ! There's no place to put it. Couldn't she 
sleep with Timmins ?" 

" 0, she could, of course — just as well as not, only people 
would make such a fuss about it ; — it wouldn't do ; we must 
bear it for once. I'll try and not be caught in such a scrape 
again." 

" How provoking !" said Miss Margaret ; — " how came 
father to do so without asking you about it ?'' 

" 0, he was bewitched, I suppose, — men always are. 
Look here, Margaret, — I can't go down to tea with a train of 
children at my heels, — I shall leave you and Ellen up here, 
and I'll send up your tea to you." 

"O no, mamma!" said Margaret eagerly ; "I want to go 
down with you. Look here, mamma ! she's asleep and you 
needn't wake her up — that's excuse enough ; you can leave 
her to have her tea up here, and let me go down with you." 

" Well," said Mrs. Dunscombe, — " I don't care — but make 
haste to get ready, for I expect every minute when the tea- 
bell will ring." 

" Timmins ! Timmins !" cried Margaret, — " come here and 
fix me — quick ! — and step softly, will you ? — or you'll wake 
that young one up, and then, you see, I shall have to stay 
up stairs." 

This did not happen however. Ellen's sleep was much too 
deep to be easily disturbed. The tea-bell itself, loud and 
shrill as it was, did not even make her eye-lids tremble. 
After Mrs. and Miss Dunscombe were gone down, Timmins 
employed herself a little while in putting all things about the 
room to rights ; and then sat down to take her rest, dividing 
her attention between the fire and Ellen, towards whom she 
seemed to feel more and more kindness, as she saw that she 
was likely to receive it from no one else. Presently came a 
knock at the door ; — " The tea for the young lady," on a 
waiter. Miss Timmins silently took the tray from the man 
and shut the door. " Well !" said she to herself, — " if that 
aint a pretty supper to send up to a child that has gone two 
hundred miles to-day, and had no breakfast ! — a cup of tea, 
cold enough I'll warrant, — bread and butter enough for a 
bird, — and two little slices of ham as thick as a wafer ! — well, 
I just wish Mrs. Dunscombe had to eat it herself, and nothing 



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103 



else ! — I'm not going to wake her up for that, I know, till I 
Bee whether something better aint to be had for love nor 
money. So just you sleep on, darling, till I see what I can 
do for you." 

In great indignation, down stairs went Miss Timmins ; and 
at the foot of the stairs she met a rosy- cheeked, pleasant- 
faced girl coming up. 

" Are you the chambermaid?" said Timmins. 

" I'm one of the chambermaids," said the girl smiling ; 
there's three of us in this house, dear." 

" Well, I am a stranger here," said Timmins, " and I 
want you to help me, and I am sure you will. I've got a 
dear little girl up-stairs that I want some supper for — she's a 
sweet child, and she's under the care of some proud folks 
here in the tea-room that think it's too much trouble to look 
at her ; and they've sent her up about supper enough for a 
mouse, — and she half starving ; she lost her breakfast this 
morning by their ugliness. Now ask one of the waiters to give 
me something nice for her, will you ?- — there's a good girl." 

"James !" — said the girl in a loud whisper to one of the 
waiters who was crossing the hall. He instantly stopped and 
came towards them, tray in hand, and making several extra 
polite bows as he drew near. 

"What's on the supper-table, James?" said the smiling 
damsel. 

" Everything that ought to be there, Miss Johns," said the 
man, with another flourish. 

" Come, stop your nonsense," said the girl, " and tell me 
quick — I'm in a hurry." 

" It's a pleasure to perform your commands, Miss Johns. 
I'll give you the whole bill of fare. There's a very fine beef- 
steak, fricasseed chickens, stewed oysters, sliced ham, cheese, 
preserved quinces, — with the usual compliment of bread and 
toast and muffins, and doughnuts, and new year cake, and 
plenty of butter, — likewise salt and pepper, — likewise tea 
and coffee, and sugar, — likewise, — " 

" Hush ! " said the girl. " Do stop, will you ? " — and 
then laughing and turning to Miss Timmins, she added, 
" What will you have ?" 

"I guess I'll have some of the chickens and oysters," said 



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Timmins ; " that will be the nicest for her, — and a muffin 
or two." 

"Now, James, do you hear?" said the chambermaid; 
" I want you to get me now, right away, a nice little supper 
of chickens and oysters and a muffin — it's for a lady up stairs. 
Be as quick as you can." 

" I should be very happy to execute impossibilities for you, 
Miss Johns, but Mrs. Ousters is at the table herself." 

" Very well — that's nothing— she'll think it's for somebody 
up stairs — and so it is." 

" Ay, but the up-stairs people is Tim's business — I should 
be hauled over the coals directly." 

" Then ask Tim, will you ? How slow you are ! Now, 
James, if you don't, I won't speak to you again." 

" Till to-morrow ? — I couldn't stand that. It shall be 
done, Miss Johns, instantum." 

Bowing and smiling, away went James, leaving the girls 
giggling on the stair-case and highly gratified. 

" He always does what I want him to," said the good- 
humored chambermaid, "but he generally makes a fuss 
about it first. He'll be back directly with what you want." 

Till he came, Miss Timmins filled up the time with telling 
her new friend as much as she knew about Ellen and Ellen's 
hardships ; with which Miss Johns was so much interested that 
she declared she must go up and see her ; and when James in 
a few minutes returned with a tray of nice things, the two 
women proceeded together to Mrs. Dunscombe's room. El- 
len had moved so far as to put herself on the floor with her 
head on the cushion for a pillow, but she was as sound asleep 
as ever. 

"Just see now!" said Timmins; "there she lies on the 
floor — enough to give her her death of cold ; poor child, 
she's tired to death ; and Mrs. Dunscombe made her walk up 
from the steamboat to-night rather than do it herself; — I de- 
clare I wished the coach would break down, only for the 
other folks. I am glad I have got a good supper for her 
though, — thank you, Miss Johns." 

" And I'll tell you what, I'll go and get you some nice hot 
tea," said the chambermaid, who was quite touched by the 
sight of Ellen's little pale face. 



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105 



" Thank you," said Timmins, — " you're a darling. This is 
as cold as a stone." 

While the chambermaid went forth on her kind errand, 
Timmins stooped down by the little sleeper's side. "Miss 
Ellen !" she said ; — " Miss Ellen ! — wake up, dear — wake up 
and get some supper — come ! you'll feel a great deal better 
for it — you shall sleep as much as you like afterwards." 

Slowly Ellen raised herself and opened her eyes. " Where 
am I ? " she asked, looking bewildered. 

" Here, dear," said Timmins ; — " wake up and eat some- 
thing — it will do you good." 

With a sigh, poor Ellen arose and came to the fire. 
" You're tired to death, aint you?" said Timmins. 

" Not quite," said Ellen. " I shouldn't mind that if my 
legs would not ache so — and my head, too. 

" Now I'm sorry !" said Timmins ; " but your head will 
be better for eating, I know. See here — I've got } t ou some 
nice chicken and oysters, — and I'll make this muffin hot for 
you by the fire ; and here comes your tea. Miss Johns, I'm 
your servant, and I'll be your bridesmaid with the greatest 
pleasure in life. Now, Miss Ellen, dear, just you put your- 
self on that low chair, and I'll fix you off." 

Ellen thanked her, and did as she was told. Timmins 
brought another chair to her side, and placed the tray with 
her supper upon it, and prepared her muffin and tea ; and 
having fairly seen Ellen begin to eat, she next took off her 
shoes, and seating herself on the carpet before her, she made 
her lap the resting place for Ellen's feet, chafing them in her 
hands and heating them at the fire ; saying there was nothing 
like rubbing and roasting to get rid of the leg-ache. By the 
help of the supper, the fire, and Timmins, Ellen mended ra- 
pidly. With tears in her eyes, she thanked the latter for her 
kindness. 

" Now just don't say one word about that," said Timmins ; 
" I never was famous for kindness, as I know ; but people 
must be kind sometimes in their lives, — unless they happen 
to be made of stone, which I believe some people are. You 
feel better, don't you ?" 

" A great deal," said Ellen. " Oh, if I only could go to 
bed, now !" 

" And you shall," said Timmins. " I know about your 
6 



106 



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bed, and I'll go right away and have it brought in." And 
away she went. 

While she was gone, Ellen drew from her pocket her little 
hymn-book, to refresh herself with looking at it. How 
quickly and freshly it brought back to her mind the friend 
who had given it, and his conversations w r ith her, and the re- 
solve she had made ; and again Ellen's whole heart offered 
the prayer she had repeated many times that day, — 

" Open my heart, Lord, enter in ; 
Slay every foe, and conquer sin." 

Her head was still bent upon her little book when Tim- 
mins entered. Timmins was not alone ; Miss Johns and a 
little cot bedstead came in with her. The latter was put at 
the foot of Mrs. Dunscombe's bed, and speedily made up by 
the chambermaid, while Timmins undressed Ellen ; and very 
soon all the sorrows and vexations of the day were forgotten 
in a sound, refreshing sleep. But not till she had removed 
her little hymn-book from the pocket of her frock to a safe 
station under her pillow ; it was with her hand upon it that 
Ellen went to sleep ; and it was in her hand still when she 
was waked the next morning. 

The next day was spent in a wearisome stage-coach, over 
a rough, jolting road. Ellen's companions did nothing to 
make her way pleasant, but she sweetened theirs with her 
sugar-plums. Somewhat mollified, perhaps, after that, Miss 
Margaret condescended to enter into conversation with her, 
and Ellen underwent a thorough cross-examination as to all 
her own and her parent's affairs, past, present, and future, 
and likewise as to all that could be known of her yesterday's 
friend, till she was heartily worried, and out of patience. 

It was just five o'clock when they reached her stopping- 
place. Ellen knew of no particular house to go to ; so Mrs. 
Dunscombe set her down at the door of the principal inn of 
the town, called the " Star " of Thirlwall. 

The driver smacked his whip, and away went the stage 
acrain, and she was left standing alone beside her trunk be- 
fore, the piazza of the inn, watching Timmins, who was look- 
ing back at her out of the stage window, nodding and waving 
good-byo, 



CHAPTER IX. 



Oadsby. — Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London? 
2nd Car.— Time enough to go to bed with a candle, 1 warrant thee. 

King Henry IV. 

Ellen had been whirled along over the roads for so many 
hours, — the rattle of the stage coach had filled her ears for 
so long, — that now, suddenly still and quiet, she felt half 
stunned. She stood with a kind of dreamy feeling, looking 
after the departing stage-coach. In it there were three 
people whose faces she knew, and she could not count a 
fourth within many a mile. One of those was a friend, too, 
as the fluttering handkerchief of poor Miss Timmins gave 
token still. Yet Ellen did not wish herself back in the 
coach, although she continued to stand and gaze after it as 
it rattled off at a great rate down the little street, its huge 
body lumbering up and down every now and then, reminding 
her of sundry uncomfortable jolts ; till the horses making a 
sudden turn to the right, it disappeared round a corner. 
Still for a minute Ellen watched the whirling cloud of dust 
it had left behind ; but then the feeling of strangeness and 
loneliness came over her, and her heart sank. She cast a 
look up and down the street. The afternoon was lovely ; 
the slant beams of the setting sun came back from gilded 
windows, and the houses and chimney-tops of the little town 
were in a glow ; but she saw nothing bright anywhere ; — in 
all the glory of the setting sun the little town looked 
strange and miserable. There was no sign of her having 
been expected ; nobody was waiting to meet her. What 
was to be done next ? Ellen had not the slightest idea. 

Her heart growing fainter and fainter, she turned again to 
the inn. A tall, awkward young countryman, with a cap set 
on one side of his head, was busying himself with sweeping 
off the floor of the piazza, but in a very leisurely manner ; ana 



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between every two strokes of his broom he was casting long 
looks at Ellen, evidently wondering who she was and what 
she could want there. Ellen saw it, and hoped he would ask 
her in words, for she could not answer his looks of curiosity, — - 
but she was disappointed. As he reached the end of the 
piazza and gave his broom two or three knocks against the 
edge of the boards to clear it of dust, he indulged himself 
with one good long finishing look at Ellen, and then she saw 
he was going to take himself and his broom into the house. 
So in despair she ran up the two or three low steps of the 
piazza and presented herself before him. He stopped short. 

" Will you please to tell me, sir," said poor Ellen, " if Miss 
Emerson is here ?" 

" Miss Emerson ?" said he, — " what Miss Emerson ?" 

" I don't know, sir, — Miss Emerson that lives not far from 
Thirlwall.' , 

Eyeing Ellen from head to foot, the man then trailed his 
broom into the house." Ellen followed him. 

" Mr. Forbes !" said he, — " Mr. Forbes ! do you know 
anything of Miss Emerson ?" 

" What Miss Emerson ?" said another man, with a big red 
face and a big round body, showing himself in a doorway 
which he nearly filled. 

" Miss Emerson that lives a little way out of town." 

" Miss Fortune Emerson ? yes, I know her. What of 
her?" 

" Has she been here to-day ?" 

" Here ? what, in town ? No — not as I've seen or heerd. 
Why, who wants her ?" 
"This little girl." 

And the man with the broom stepping back, disclosed 
Ellen to the view of the red-faced landlord. He advanced a 
step or two towards her. 

" What do you want with Miss Fortune, little one ?" said 
he. 

" I expected she would meet me here, sir," said Ellen. 
" Where have you come from ?" 
" From New York." 

" The stage set her down just now," put in the other man. 
" And you thought Miss Fortune would meet you, did 
you?" 



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u Yes, sir ; she was to meet me and take me home." 

" Take you home ! Are you going to Miss Fortune's home ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Why you don't belong to her anyway, do you?" 
" No, sir," said Ellen, " but she's my aunt." 
" She's your what ?" 
" My aunt, sir, — my father's sister." 

" Your father's sister ! You ben't the daughter of Mor- 
gan Montgomery, be you?" 

" Yes, I am," said Ellen, half smiling. 

" And you are come to make a visit to Miss Fortune, eh ?" 

" Yes," said Ellen, smiling no longer. 

" And Miss Fortune ha'n't come up to meet you ; — that's 
real shabby of her ; and how to get you down there to-night, 
I am sure is more than I can tell." — And he shouted, " Wife !" 

" What's the matter, Mr. Forbes ?" said a fat landlady, 
appearing -in the doorway, which she filled near as well as 
her husband would have done. 

" Look here," said Mr. Forbes, " here's Morgan Mont- 
gomery's daughter come to pay a visit to her aunt, Fortune 
Emerson. Don't you think she'll be glad to see her ?" 

Mr. Forbes put this question with rather a curious look at 
his wife. She didn't answer him. She only looked at Ellen, 
looked grave, and gave a queer little nod of her head, which 
meant, Ellen could not make out what. 

" Now, what's to be done ?" continued Mr. Forbes. 
" Miss Fortune was to have come up to meet her, but she 
aint here, and I don't know how in the world I can take the 
child down there to-night. The horses are both out to 
plough, you know ; and besides, the tire is come off that 
wagon wheel. I couldn't possibly use it. And then it's a 
great question in my mind what Miss Fortune would say to 
me. I should get paid, I s'pose ?" 

" Yes, you'd get paid," said his wife, with another little 
shake of her head ; " but whether it would be the kind of pay 
you'd like, / don't know." 

" Well, what's to be done, wife ? Keep the child over- 
night, and send word down yonder ?" 

"No," said Mrs. Forbes, " I'll tell you. I think I saw 
Van Brunt go by two or three hours ago with the ox-cart, 
and I guess he's somewhere up town yet ; I ha'n't seen him 



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go back. He can take the child home with him. " Sam !" 
shouted Mrs. Forbes, — " Sam ! — here ! — Sam, run up street 
directly, and see if you see Mr. Van Brunt's ox-cart standing 
anywhere — I dare say he's at Mr. Miller's, or maybe at Mr. 
Hammersley's, the blacksmith — and ask him to stop here 
before he goes home. Now hurry ! — and don't run over 
him and then come back and tell me he aint in town." 

Mrs. Forbes herself followed Sam to the door, and cast 
an exploring look in every direction. 

" I don't see no signs of him, — up nor down," said she, 
returning to Ellen ; " but I'm pretty sure he aint gone 
home. Come in here — come in here, dear, and make your- 
self comfortable ; it'll be a while yet maybe 'afore Mr. Van 
Brunt comes, but he'll be along by-and-by ; — come in here 
and rest yourself." 

She opened a door, and Ellen followed her into a lar^e 
kitchen, where a fire was burning that showed wood must be 
plenty in those regions. Mrs. Forbes placed a low chair for 
her on the hearth, but herself remained standing by the side 
of the fire, looking earnestly and with a good deal of interest 
upon the little stranger. Ellen drew her white bonnet from 
her head, and sitting down with a wearied air, gazed sadly 
into the flames that were shedding their light upon her. 

" Are you going to stop a good while with Miss Fortune ?" 
said Mrs. Forbes. 

" I don't know, ma'am, — yes, I believe so," said Ellen 
faintly. 

" Ha'n't you got no mother ?" asked Mrs. Forbes sudden- 
ly, after a pause. 

" Oh yes !" said Ellen, looking up. But the question had 
touched the sore spot. Her head sank on her hands, and 
" Oh mamma !" was uttered with a bitterness that even Mrs. 
Forbes could feel. 

" Now what made me ask you that !" said she. " Don't 
cry ! — don't , love ; poor little dear ! you're as pale as a 
sheet ; you're tired, I know — aint you ? Now cheer up, do, 
— 1 can't bear to see you cry. You've come a great ways to- 
day, ha'n't you ?" 

Ellen nodded her head, but could give no answer. 

" I know what will do you good," said Mrs. Forbes pre- 
sently, getting up from the crouching posture she had taken 



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Ill 



to comfort Ellen ; " you want something to eat, — that's the 
matter. I'll warrant you're half starved ; — no wonder you 
feel bad. Poor little thing ! you shall have something good 
directly. 

And away she bustled to get it Left alone, Ellen's tears 
flowed a few minutes very fast She felt forlorn ; and she 
was besides, as Mrs. Forbes opined, both tired and faint. 
But she did not wish to be found weeping ; she checked her 
tears, and was sitting again quietly before the fire when the 
landlady returned. 

Mi's, Forbes had a great bowl of milk in one hand, and a 
plate of bread in the other, which she placed on the kitchen 
table, and setting a chair, called Ellen to come and partake 
of it. 

" Come, dear, — here is something that will do you good. 
I thought there was a piece of pi« in the buttery, and so 
there was, but Mr. Forbes must have got hold of it, for it 
aint there now ; and there aint a bit of cake in the house 
for yon ; but I thought maybe you would like this as well as 
anything. Come !" 

Ellen thanked her, but said she did not want anything. 

" Oh yes, you do," said Mrs. Forbes, " I know better. 
You're as pale as I don't know what Come ! this '11 put 
roses in your cheeks. Don't you like bread and milk ?" 

" Yes, very much indeed, ma'am," said Ellen, " but I'm 
not hungry." She rose, however, and came to the table. 

" well, try to eat a bit just to please me. It's real good 
country milk — not a bit of cream off. You don't get such 
milk as that in the city, I guess. That's right ! — I see the 
roses coming back to your cheeks already." 

" Is your pa in New York now ?" 

" Yes, ma'am." 

" You expect your pa and ma up to Thirlwall by-and-by, 
don't you ?" 
" No, ma'am." 

Mrs. Forbes was surprised, and longed to ask why not, 
and what Ellen had come for ; but the shade that had passed 
over her face as she answered the last question warned the 
landlady she was getting upon dangerous ground. 

" Does your aunt expect you to-night ?" 



112 THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



" I believe so, ma'am, — I don't know, — she was to have 
met me ; papa said he would write." 

" 0, well ! maybe something hindered her from coming. 
It's no matter ; you'll get home just as well. Mr. Van 
Brunt will be here soon, I guess ; it's most time for him to 
be along." 

She went to the front door to look out for him, but 
returned without any news. A few minutes passed in silence, 
for though full of curiosity, the good landlady dared not ask 
what she wanted to know, for fear of again exciting the sor- 
row of her little companion. She contented herself with 
looking at Ellen, who on her part, much rested and refreshed, 
had turned from the table and was again, though somewhat 
less sadly, gazing into the fire. 

Presently the great wooden clock struck half-past five, 
with a whirring ricketty voice, for all the world like a hoarse 
grasshopper. Ellen at first wondered where it came from, 
and was looking at the clumsy machine that reached nearly 
from the floor of the kitchen to the ceiling, when a door at 
the other end of the room opened, and " Good day, Mrs. 
Forbes," in a rough but not unpleasant voice, brought her 
head quickly round in that direction. There stood a large 
strong-built man, with an ox-whip in his hand. He was well- 
made and rather handsome, but there was something of 
heaviness in the air of both face and person mixed with his 
certainly good humored expression. His dress was as rough 
as his voice — a coarse gray frock-coat, green velveteen pan- 
taloons, and a fur cap that had seen its best days some time 
ago. 

" Good day, Mrs. Forbes," said this personage ; " Sam 
said you wanted me to stop as I went along." 

" Ah, how d'ye do, Mr. Van Brunt ?" said the landlady, 
rising ; — "you've got the ox-cart here with you, ha'n'tyou?" 

" Yes, — I've got the ox-cart," said the person addressed, — 
" I came in town for a barrel of flour ; and then the near ox 
had lost both his fore shoes off, and I had to go over there ; 
and Hammersley has kept me a precious long time. What's 
wanting, Mrs. Forbes? I can't stop." 

" You've no load in the cart, have you ? " said the 
landlady. 



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113 



" No ; I should have had though, but Miller had no shorts 
nor fresh flour, nor won't till next week. What's to go down, 
Mrs. Forbes? 

" The nicest load ever you carried, Mr. Van Brunt. Here's 
a little lady come to stay with Miss Fortune. She's a daugh- 
ter of Captain Montgomery, Miss Fortune's brother, you 
know. She came by the stage a little while ago, and the 
thing is how to get her down to-night. She can go in the cart, 
can't she ?" 

Mr. Van Brunt looked a little doubtful, and pulling off 
his cap with one hand, while he scratched his head with 
the other, he examined Ellen from head to foot ; much as if 
she had been some great bale of goods, and he were con- 
sidering whether his cart would hold her or not. 

" Well," said he at length, — " I don't know but she can ; 
but there aint nothing on 'arth for her to sit down upon." 

" 0, never mind ; I'll fix that," said Mrs. Forbes. " Is 
there any straw in the bottom of the cart?" 

" Not a bit." 

" Well, I'll fix it," said Mrs. Forbes. " You get her trunk 
into the cart, will you, Mr. Van Brunt ? and I'll see to the 
rest." 

Mr. Van Brunt moved off without another word to do what 
was desired of him, — apparently quite confounded at having 
a passenger instead of his more wonted load of bags and bar- 
rels. And his face still continued to wear the singular doubt- 
ful expression it had put on at first hearing the news. Ellen's 
trunk was quickly hoisted in, however ; and Mrs. Forbes pre- 
sently appeared with a little arm-chair, which Mr. Van Brunt 
with an approving look bestowed in the cart, planting it with 
it's back against the trunk to keep it steady. Mrs. Forbes 
then raising herself on tiptoe by the side of the cart, took a 
view of the arrangements. 

" That won't do yet," said she ; " her feet will be cold on that 
bare floor, and 'taint over clean neither. Here, Sally ! run up 
and fetch me that piece of carpet you'll find lying at the top 
of the back stairs. Now, hurry ! — Now, Mr. Van Brunt, I 
depend upon you to get my things back again ; will you see 
and bring 'em the first time you come in town ?" 

" I'll see about it. But what if I can't get hold of them ?" 
answered the person addressed, with a half smile. 
6* 



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" 0," said Mrs. Forbes, with another, " I leave that to 
you ; you have your ways and means. Now, just spread this 
carpet down nicely under her chair ; and then she'll be fixed. 
Now, my darling, you'll ride like a queen. But how are vou 
going to get in ! Will you let Mr. Van Brunt lift you up ?" 

Ellen's " no, ma'am, if you please !" was accompanied with 
such an evident shrinking from the proposal, that Mrs. Forbes 
did not press it. A chair was brought from the kitchen, and 
by making a long step from it to the top of the wheel, and 
then to the edge of the cart, Ellen was at length safely 
stowed in her place. Kind Mrs. Forbes then stretched her- 
self up over the side of the cart to shake hands with her and 
bid her good bye, telling her again site would ride like a 
queen. Ellen answered only " Good-bye, ma'am ;" but it 
was said with a look of so much sweetness, and eves swim- 
ming half in sadness and half in gratefulness, that the good 
landlady could not forget it. 

" I do think," said she, when she went back to her hus- 
band, " that is the dearest little tiling, about, I ever did see." 

" Humph !" said her husband, " 1 reckon Miss Fortune 
will think so too." 

The doubtful look came back to Mrs. Forbes' face, and 
with another little grave shake of her head, she went into the 
kitchen. 

" How kind she is ! how good everybody is tome," thought 
little Ellen, as she moved off in state in her chariot drawn by 
oxen. Quite a contrast this new way of traveling was to 
the noisy stage and swift steamer. Ellen did not know at 
first whether to like or dislike it ; but she came to the con- 
clusion that it was very funny, and a remarkably amusing 
way of getting along. There was one disadvantage about it 
certainly, — their rate of travel was very slow. Ellen won- 
dered her charioteer did not make his animals go faster ; but 
she soon forgot their lazy progress in the interest of novel 
sights and new scenes. 

Slowly, very slowly, the good oxen drew the cart and the 
little queen in the arm-chair out of the town, and they 
entered upon the open country. The sun had already gone 
down when they left the inn, and the glow of his setting had 
faded a good deal by the time they got quite out of the town ; 
but light enough was left still to delight Ellen wiUi the plea- 



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115 



sant look of the country. It was a lovely evening, and quiet 
as summer ; not a breath stirring. The leaves were all off 
the trees; the hills were brown; but the soft warm light 
that still lingered upon them forbade any look of harshness 
or dreariness. These hills lay towards the west, and at 
Thirlwall were not more than two miles distant, but sloping 
ofF more to the west as the range extended in a southerly 
direction. Between, the ground was beautifully broken. 
Rich fields and meadows lay on all sides, sometimes level, and 
sometimes with a soft wavy surface, where Ellen thought it 
mu<t be charming to run up and down. Every now and 
then these were varied by a little rising ground capped with a 
piece of woodland ; and beautiful trees, many of them, were 
seen standing alone, especially by the road-side. All had a 
cheerful, pleasant look. The houses were very scat- 
tered ; in the whole way they passed but few. Ellen's heart 
regularly began to beat when they came in sight of one, and 
** I wonder if that is aunt Fortune's house !" — " perhaps it 
is!" — or, "I hope it is not !" were the thoughts that rose in 
her mind. But slowly the oxen brought her abreast of the 
houses, one after another, and slowly they passed on beyond, 
and there was no sign of getting home yet. Their way was 
through pleasant lanes towards the south, but constantly 
approaching the hills. About half a mile from Thirlwall, 
they crossed a little river, not more than thirty yards broad, 
and after that the twilight deepened fast. The shades 
gathered on field and hill : everything grew brown, and then 
dusky ; and then Ellen was obliged to content herself with 
what was very near, for further than that she could only see 
dim outlines. She began again to think of their slow travel- 
ing, and to wonder that Mr. Van Brunt could be content 
with it. She wondered too what made him walk, when he 
might just as well have sat in the cart ; the truth was he had 
chosen that for the very purpose that he might have a good 
look at the little queen in the arm-chair. Apparently, how- 
ever, he too now thouo-ht it might be as well to make a little 
haste, for he thundered out some orders to his oxen, accom- 
panied with two or three strokes of his heavy lash, which, 
though not cruel by any means, went to Ellen's heart. 
" Them lazy critters won't go fast anyhow," said he to 



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Ellen, — " they will take their own time ; it aint no use to 
cut them." 

" no ! pray don't, if you please !" said Ellen, in a voice 
of earnest entreaty. 

" 'Taint fair neither," continued Mr. Van Brunt, lashing 
his great whip from side to side without touching anything. 
" I have seen critters that would take any quantity of whip- 
ping to make them go, but them 'ere aint of that kind ; 
they'll work as long as they can stand, poor fellows !" 

There was a little silence, during which Ellen eyed her 
rough charioteer, not knowing exactly what to make of him. 

" I guess this is the first time you ever rid in an ox-cart, 
aint it?" 

" Yes," said Ellen ; " I never saw one before." 
" Ha'n't you never seen an ox-cart ! Well — how do you 
like it?" 

" I like it very much indeed. Have we much farther to 
go before we get to aunt Fortune's house ?" 

" ' Aunt Fortune's house ?' a pretty good bit yet. You 
see that mountain over there ?" — pointing with his whip to a 
hill directly west of them, and about a mile distant. 

" Yes," said Ellen. 

" That's the Nose. Then you see that other ?" — pointing 
to one that lay some two miles further south ; — " Miss 
Fortune's house is just this side of that ; it's all of two miles 
from here." 

And urged by this recollection, he again scolded and 
cheered the patient oxen, who for the most part kept on 
their steady way without any reminder. But perhaps it was 
for Ellen's sake that he scarcely touched them with the whip. 

" That don't hurt them, not a bit," he remarked to Ellen, 
— " it only lets them know that Em here, and they must 
mind their business. So you're Miss Fortune's niece, eh ?" 

" Yes," said Ellen. 

" Well," said Mr. Van Brunt, with a desperate attempt at 
being complimentary, " I shouldn't care if you was mine 
too." 

Ellen was somewhat astounded, and so utterly unable to 
echo the wish, that she said nothing. She did not know it, 
but Mr. Van Brunt had made, for him, most extraordinary 



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117 



efforts at sociability. Having quite exhausted himself, he now 
mounted into the cart and sat silent, only now and then ut- 
tering energetic " Gee's !" and " Haw's !" which greatly excited 
Ellen's wonderment. She discovered they were meant for the 
ears of the oxen, but more than that she could not make out. 

They plodded along very slowly, and the evening fell fast. 
As they left behind the hill which Mr. Van Brunt had called 
" the Nose," they could see, through an opening in the moun- 
tains, a -bit of the western horizon, and some brightness still 
lingering there ; but it was soon hid from view, and darkness 
veiled the whole country. Ellen could amuse herself no 
longer with looking about ; she could see nothing very 
clearly but the outline of Mr. Van Brunt's broad back, just 
before her. But the stars had come out ! — and, brilliant and 
clear, they were looking down upon her with their thousand 
eyes. Ellen's heart jumped when she saw them, with a 
mixed feeling of pleasure and sadness. They carried her 
right back to the last evening, when she was walking up the 
hill with Timmins ; she remembered her anger against Mrs. 
Dunscombe, and her kind friend's warning not to indulge it, 
and all his teaching that day ; and tears came with the 
thought, how glad she should be to hear him speak to her 
again. Still looking up at the beautiful quiet stars, she 
thought of her dear far-off mother, — how long it was already 
since she had seen her ; — faster and faster the tears dropped ; — 
and then she thought of that glorious One who had made 
the stars, and was above them all, and who could and did 
see her mother and her, though ever so far apart, and could 
hear and bless them both. The little face was no longer 
upturned — it was buried in her hands, and bowed to her lap, 
and tears streamed as she prayed that God would bless her 
dear mother and take care of her. Not once nor twice ; — 
the fullness of Ellen's heart could not be poured out in one 
asking. Greatly comforted at last, at having as it were laid 
over the care of her mother upon One who was able, she 
thought of herself, and her late resolution to serve him. She 
was in the same mind still. She could not call herself 
a Christian yet, but she was resolved to be one ; and she 
earnestly asked the Saviour she sought, to make her and 
keep her his child. And then Ellen felt happy. 

Quiet, and weariness, and even drowsiness succeeded. It 



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was well the night was still, for it had grown quite cool, and 
a breeze would have gone through and through Ellen's 
> nankeen coat. As it was she began to be chilly, when Mr 
Van Brunt, who since he got into the cart had made no 
remarks except to his oxen, turned round a little and spoke 
to her again. 

" It's only a little bit of way we've got to go now," said 
he ; " we're turning the corner." 

The words seemed to shoot through Ellen's heart. She 
was wide awake instantly, and quite warm ; and leaning 
forward in her little chair, she strove to pierce the darkness 
on either hand of her, to see whereabouts the house stood, 
and how things looked. She could discern nothing but misty 
shadows, and outlines of she could not tell what ; the star- 
light was too dim to reveal anything to a stranger. 

" There's the house," said Mr. Van Brunt, after a few 
minutes more, — " do you see it yonder ? " 

Ellen strained her eyes, but could make out nothing, — not 
even a glimpse of white. She sat back in her chair, her 
heart beating violently. Presently Mr. Van Brunt jumped 
down and opened a gate at the side of the road ; and with a 
great deal of "gee"-ing the oxen turned to the right, and 
drew the cart a little way up hill, — then stopped on what 
seemed level ground. 

" Here we are !" cried Mr. Van Brunt, as he threw his 
whip on the ground, — " and late enough ! You must be 
tired of that little arm-cheer by this time. Come to the side 
of the cart and I'll lift you down." 

Poor Ellen ! There was no help for it. She came to the 
side of the cart, and taking her in his arms her rough chario- 
teer set her very gently and carefully on the ground. 

" There I" said he, " now you can run right in ; do you 
see that little gate ?" 

" No," said Ellen, " I can't see anything," 

*' Well, come here," said he, " and I'll show you. Here 
■ — you're running agin the fence — this way !" 

And he opened a little wicket, which Ellen managed to 
stumble through. 

" Now," said he, " go straight up to that door yonder, 
and open it, and you'll see where to go. Don't knock, but 
just pull the latch and go in." 



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119 



And he went off to his oxen. Ellen at first saw no door, 
and did not even know where to look for it ; by degrees, as 
her head became clearer, the large dark shadow of the house 
stood before her, and a little glimmering line of a path seemed 
to lead onward from where she stood. With unsteady steps, 
Ellen, pursued it till her foot struck against the stone before 
the door. Her trembling fingers found the latch — lifted it — 
and she entered. All was dark there ; but at the right a 
window showed light glimmering within. Ellen made to- 
ward it, and groping, came to another door-latch. This 
was big and clumsy ; however, she managed it, and pushing 
open the heavy door, went in. 

It was a good -sized, cheerful -looking kitchen. A fine fire 
was burning in the enormous fireplace ; the white walls and 
ceiling were yellow in the light of the flame. No candles 
were needed, and none were there. The supper table was 
set, and with its snow-white tablecloth and shining furniture, 
looked very comfortable indeed. But the only person there 
was an old woman, sitting by the side of the fire, with her 
back towards Ellen. She seemed to be knitting, but did not 
move nor look round. Ellen had come a step or two into the 
room, and there she stood, unable to speak or to go any far- 
ther. "Can that be aunt Fortune?" she thought; "she 
can't be as old as that ? " 

In another minute a door opened at her right, just behind 
the old woman's back, and a second figure appeared at the 
top of a flight of stairs which led down from the kitchen. 
She came in, shutting the door behind her with her foot ; 
and indeed both hands were full, one holding a lamp and a 
knife, and the other a plate of butter. The sight of Ellen 
stopped her short. 

" What is this ? — and what do you leave the door open 
for, child? " she said. 

She advanced towards it, plate and lamp in hand, and set- 
ting her back against the door, shut it vigorously. 

" Who are you ? — and what's wanting ? " 

" I am Ellen Montgomery, ma'am," said Ellen, timidly. 

" What ? " said the lady, with some emphasis. 

" Didn't you expect me, ma'am ? " said Ellen ; " papa said 
he would write." 



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" Why, is this Ellen Montgomery ? " said Miss Fortune, 
apparently forced to the conclusion that it must be. 
" Yes, ma'am," said Ellen. 

Miss Fortune went to the table and put the butter and the 
lamp in their places. 

"Did you say your father wrote to tell me of your com- 
ing?" 

" He said he would, ma'am," said Ellen. 

" He didn't ! Never sent me a line. Just like him ! I 
never yet knew Morgan Montgomery do a thing when he 
promised he would." 

Ellen's face flushed, and her heart swelled. She stood 
motionless. 

" How did you get down here to-night ?" 

" I came in Mr. Van Brunt's ox-cart," said Ellen. 

" Mr. Van Brunt's ox-cart ! Then he's got home, has he ?" 
And hearing at this instant a noise outside, Miss Fortune 
swept to the door, saying, as she opened it, " Sit down, child, 
and take off your things." 

The first command, at least, Ellen obeyed gladly ; she did 
not feel enough at home to comply with the second. She 
only took off her bonnet. 

" Well, Mr. Van Brunt," said Miss Fortune at the door, 
" have you brought me a barrel of flour ?" 

" No, Miss Fortune," said the voice of Ellen's charioteer, 
" I've brought you something better than that." 

"Where did you find her?" said Miss Fortune, something 
shortly. 

" Up at Forbes's." 

" What have you got there ?" 

" A trunk. Where is it to go ?" 

" A trunk ! Bless me ! it must go up stairs ; but how it 
is ever to get there, I am sure I don't know." 

" I'll find a way to get it there, I'll engage, if you'll be so 
good as to open the door for me, ma'am." 

" Indeed you won't ! That'll never do. With your shoes !" 
said Miss Fortune, in a tone of indignant housewifery. 

" Well — without my shoes, then," said Mr. Van Brunt, 
with a half giggle, as Ellen heard the shoes kicked off. " Now, 
ma'am, out of my way ! give me a road." 



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121 



Miss Fortune seized the lamp, and opening another door, 
ushered Mr. Van Brunt and the trunk out of the kitchen, and 
up, Ellen saw not whither. In a minute or two they re- 
turned, and he of the ox-cart went out. 

" Supper's just ready, Mr. Van Brunt," said the mistress 
of the house." 

"Can't stay, ma'am; — it's so late; must hurry home." 
And he closed the door behind him. 

" What made you so late ?" asked Miss Fortune of Ellen. 

" I don't know, ma'am — I believe Mr. Van Brunt said the 
blacksmith had kept him." 

Miss Fortune bustled about a few minutes in silence, set- 
ting some things on the table and filling the tea-pot. 

" Come," she said to Ellen, " take off your coat and come 
to the table. You must be hungry by this time. It's a good 
while since you had your dinner, aint it ? Come, mother." 

The old lady rose, and Miss Fortune, taking her chair, set 
it by the side of the table next the fire. Ellen was opposite 
to her, and now for the first time, the old lady seemed to 
know that she was in the room. She looked at her very at- 
tentively, but with an expressionless gaze which Ellen did 
not like to meet, though otherwise her face w r as calm and 
pleasant. 

" Who is that ?" inquired the old lady presently of Miss 
Fortune, in a half whisper. 

" That's Morgan's daughter," was the answer. 

"Morgan's daughter! Has Morgan a daughter ? " 

"Why, yes, mother; don't you remember I told you a 
month ago he was going to send her here?" 

o CD o 

The old lady turned again with a half shake of her head 
towards Ellen. " Morgan's daughter," she repeated to her- 
self softly, " she's a pretty little girl, — very pretty. Will 
you come round here and give me a kiss, dear '?" 

Ellen submitted. The old lady folded her in her arms 
and kissed her affectionately. " That's your grandmother, 
Ellen," said Miss Fortune, as Ellen went back to her seat. 

Ellen had no words to answer. Her aunt saw her weary, 
down look, and soon after supper proposed to take her up 
stairs. Ellen gladly followed her. Miss Fortune showed 
her to her room, and first asking if she wanted anything, left 
her to herself. It was a relief. Ellen's heart had been brim- 



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full and ready to run over for some time, but the tears could 
not come then. They did not now, till she had undressed 
and laid her weary little body on the bed ; then they broke 
forth in an agony. " She did not kiss me ! she didn't say 
she was glad to see me !*' thought poor Ellen. But weari- 
ness this time was too much for sorrow and disappointment. 
It was but a few minutes, and Ellen's brow was calm again, 
and her eyelids still, and with the tears wet upon her cheeks, 
she was fast asleep. 



CHAPTER X. 



Nimble mischance, that comNt so swift of foot ! 

-Shakspearh. 

The morning sun was shining full and strong in Ellen's 
eyes when she awoke. Bewildered at the strangeness of 
everything round her, she raised herself on her elbow, and 
took a long look at her new home. It could not help but 
seem cheerful. The bright beams of sunlight streaming in 
through the windows lighted on the wall and the old wains- 
coting; and paintless and rough as they were, nature's own 
gilding more than made amends for their want of comeliness. 
Still Ellen was not much pleased with the result of her sur- 
vey. The room was good- sized, and perfectly neat and clean ; 
it had two large windows opening to the east, through which, 
morning by morning, the sun looked in, — that was another bles- 
sing. But the floor was without a sign of a carpet ; and the 
bare boards looked to Ellen very comfortless. The hard-fin- 
ished walls were not very smooth, nor particularly white. 
The doors and wood work, though very neat, and even 
carved with some attempt at ornament, had never known the 
touch of paint, and had grown in the course of years to be 
of a light brown color. The room was very bare of furni- 
ture too. A dressing-table, pier-table or what-not, stood 
between the windows, but it was only a half-circular top of 
pine board set upon three very long bare-looking legs — alto- 
gether of a most awkward and unhappy appearance, Ellen 
thought, and quite too high for her to use with any comfort. 
No glass hung over it, nor anywhere else. On the north side 
of the room was a fire-place ; against the opposite wall stood 
Ellen's trunk and two chairs ; — that was all, except the cot 
bed she was lying on, and which had its place opposite the 
windows. The coverlid of that came in for a share of her 



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displeasure, being of home-made white and blue worsted 
mixed with cotton, exceeding thick and heavy. 

" I wonder what sort of a blanket is under it," said Ellen, 
" if I can ever get it oft' to see ! —pretty good ; but the sheets 
are cotton, and so is the pillow-case !" 

She was still leaning on her elbow, looking around her 
with a rather discontented face, when some door being open- 
ed down stairs a great noise of hissing and sputtering came 
to her ears, and presently after there stole to her nostrils a 
steaming odor of something very savory from the kitchen. 
It said as plainly as any dressing-bell that she had better get 
up. So up she jumped, and set about the business of dress- 
ing with great alacrity. Where was the distress of last 
night ? Gone — with the darkness. She had slept well ; the 
bracing atmosphere had restored strength and spirits ; and 
the bright morning light made it impossible to be dull or 
down-hearted, in spite of the new cause she thought she had 
found. She went on quick with the business of the toilet. 
But when it came to the washing, she suddenly discovered 
that there were no conveniences for it in her room — no sign 
of pitcher or basin or stand to hold them. Ellen was slightly 
dismayed ; but presently recollected her arrival had not been 
looked for so soon, and probably the preparations for it had 
not been completed. So she finished dressing, and then set 
out to find her way to the kitchen. On opening the door, 
there was a little landing-place from which the stairs descend- 
ed just in front of her, and at the left hand another door, 
which she supposed must lead to her aunt's room. At the 
foot of the stairs Ellen found herself in a large square room 
or hall, for one of its doors, on the east, opened to the outer 
air, and was in fact the front door of the house. Another 
Ellen tried on the south side ; it would not open. A third, 
under the stairs, admitted her to the kitchen. 

The noise of hissing and sputtering now became quite vio- 
lent, and the smell of the cooking, to Ellen's fancy, rather 
too strong to be pleasant. Before a good fire stood Miss 
Fortune, holding the end of a very long iron handle by which 
she was kept in communication with a flat vessel sitting on 
the fire, in which Ellen soon discovered all this noisy and 
odorous cooking was going on. A tall tin coffee-pot stood 



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125 



on some coals in the corner of the fire-place, and another lit- 
tle iron vessel in front also claimed a share of Miss Fortune's 
attention, for she every now and then leaned forward to give 
a stir to whatever was in it, making each time quite a spasmo- 
dic effort to do so without quitting her hold of the end of 
the long handle. Ellen drew near and looked on with great 
curiosity, and not a little appetite ; but Miss Fortune was 
far too busy to give her more than a passing glance. At 
length the hissing pan was brought to the hearth for some 
new arrangement of its contents, and Ellen seized the mo- 
ment of peace and quiet to say, " Good morning, aunt For- 
tune." 

Miss Fortune was crouching by the pan turning her slices 
of pork. " How do you do this morning ?" she answered, 
without looking up. 

Ellen replied she felt a great deal better. 

"Slept warm, did you?" said Miss Fortune, as she set the 
pan back on the fire. And Ellen could hardly answer 
" Quite warm, ma'am," when the hissing and sputtering began 
again as loud as ever. 

" I must wait," thought Ellen, " till this is over before I 
say what I want to. I can't scream out to ask for a basin 
and towel." 

In a few minutes the pan was removed from the fire, and 
Miss Fortune went on to take out the brown slices of nicely- 
fried pork and arrange them in a deep dish, leaving a small 
quantity of clear fat in the pan. Ellen, who was greatly 
interested, and observing every step most attentively, settled in 
her own mind that certainly this would be thrown away, being 
fit for nothing but the pigs. But Miss Fortune didn't think so, 
for she darted into some pantry close by, and returning with a 
cup of cream in her hand emptied it all into the pork fat. Then 
she ran into the pantry again for a little round tin box, with 
a cover full of holes, and shaking this gently over the pan, 
a fine white shower of flour fell upon the cream. The pan 
was then replaced on the fire and stirred ; and to Ellen's as- 
tonishment the whole changed, as if by magic, to a thick, 
stiff, white froth. It was not till Miss Fortune was carefully 
pouring this over the fried slices in the dish, that Ellen sud- 
denly recollected that breakfast was ready, and she was not. 



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u Aunt Fortune," she said timidly, " I haven't washed 
yet, — there's no basin in my room." 

Miss Fortune made no answer nor gave any sign of hear- 
ing ; she went on dishing up breakfast. Ellen waited a few 
minutes. 

" Will you please, ma'am, to show me where I can wash 
myself." 

" Yes," said Miss Fortune, suddenly standing erect, " you'll 
have to go down to the spout." 

" The spout, ma'am," said Ellen, — " what's that? 

** You'll know it when you see it, I guess," answered 
her aunt, again stooping over her preparations. But in 
another moment she arose and said, " Just open that door 
there behind you, and go doAvn the stairs and out at the door, 
and you'll see where it is, and what it is too." 

Ellen still lingered. " Would you be so good as to give 
me a towel, ma'am ?" she said timidly. 

Miss Fortune dashed past her and out of another door, 
whence she presently returned with a clean towel which she 
threw over Ellen's arm, and then went back to her work. 

Opening the door by which she had first seen her aunt 
enter the night before, Ellen went down a steep flight of 
steps, and found herself in a lower kitchen, intended for com- 
mon purposes. It seemed to be not used at all, at least there 
was no fire there, and a cellar-like feeling and smell instead. 
That was no wonder, for beyond the fire-place on the left 
hand was the opening to the cellar, which running under the 
other part of the house, was on a level with this kitchen. 
It had no furniture but a table and two chairs. The thick 
heavy door stood open. Passing out, Ellen looked around 
her for water, — in what shape or form it was to present itself 
she had no very clear idea. She soon spied, a few yards dis- 
tant a little stream of water pouring from the end of a pipe 
or trough raised about a foot and a half from the ground, 
and a well worn path leading to it, left no doubt of its being 
' the spout.' But when she had reached it Ellen was in no 
small puzzle as to how she should manage. The water was 
clear and bright, and poured very fast into a shallow wooden 
trough underneath, whence it ran off into the meadow and 
disappeared. 



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127 



" But what shall I do without a basin," thought Ellen, 
" I can't catch any water in my hands, it runs too fast. If I 
only could get my face under there — that would be fine !" 

Very carefully and cautiously she tried it, but the con- 
tinual spattering of the water had made the board on which 
she stood so slippery that before her face could reach the 
stream she came very near tumbling headlong, and so taking 
more of a cold bath than she wished for. So she contented 
herself with the drops her hands could bring to her face, — a 
scanty supply ; but those drops were deliciously cold and 
fresh. And afterwards she pleased herself with holding her 
hands in the running water, till they were red with the cold. 
On the whole Ellen enjoyed her washing very much. The 
morning air came playing about her ; its cool breath was on 
her cheek with health in its touch. The early sun was shin- 
ing on tree and meadow and hill ; the long shadows stretched 
over the grass, and the very brown out-houses, looked bright. 
She thought it was the loveliest place she ever had seen. 
And that sparkling trickling water was certainly the purest 
and sweetest she had ever tasted. Where could it come 
from ? It poured from a small trough, made of the split 
trunk of a tree with a little groove or channel two inches 
wide hollowed out in it. But at the end of one of these troughs, 
another lapped on, and another at the end of that, and how 
many there were Ellen could not see, nor where the begin- 
ning of them was. Ellen stood gazing and wondering, drink- 
ing in the fresh air, hope and spirits rising every minute, 
when she suddenly recollected breakfast ! She hurried in. 
As she expected, her aunt was at the table ; but to her sur- 
prise, and not at all to her gratification, there was Mr. Van 
Brunt at the other end of it, eating away, very much at 
home indeed. In silent dismay Ellen drew her chair to the 
side of the table. 

" Did you find the spout ?" asked Miss Fortune. 

" Yes, ma'am." 

" Well, how do you like it?" 

" 0, I like it very much indeed," said Ellen. " I think it 
is beautiful." 

Miss Fortune's face rather softened at this, and she gave 
Ellen an abundant supply of all that was on the table. 
Her journey, the bracing air, and her cool morning wash, 



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altogether, had made Ellen very sharp, and she did jus- 
tice to the breakfast. She thought never was coffee so good 
as this country coffee ; nor anything so excellent as the brown 
bread and butter, both as sweet as bread and butter could 
be; neither was any cookery ever so ent'-ely satisfactory as 
Miss Fortune's fried pork and potatoes. Yet her teaspoon 
was not silver ; her knife coald not boast of being either 
sharp or bright ; and her fork was certainly made for anything 
else in the world but comfort and convenience, being of only 
two prongs, and those so far apart that Ellen Lad no small 
difficulty to carry the potato safely from her plate to her 
mouth. It mattered nothing ; she was now looking on the 
bright side of things, and all this only made hei breakfast 
taste the sweeter. 

Ellen rose from the table when she had finished, ani stood 
a few minutes thoughtfully by the fire. 

" Aunt Fortune," she said at length timidly, " if you've 
no objection, I should like to go and take a good look all 
about." 

" yes," said Miss Fortune, " go where you like ; I'll 
give you a week to do what you please with yourself." 

" Thank you, ma'am," said Ellen, as she ran off for her 
bonnet ; " a week's a long time. I suppose," thought she, 
" I shall go to school at the end of that." 

Returning quickly with her white bonnet, Ellen opened t!ie 
heavy kitchen door by which she had entered last night, and 
went out. She found herself in a kind of long shed. It hid 
very rough walls and floor, and overhead showed the brown 
beams and rafters ; two little windows and a door were on 
the side. All manner of rubbish lay there, especially at <-he 
farther end. There were scattered about and piled up va- 
rious boxes, boards, farming and garden tools, old pieces of 
rope and sheepskin, old iron, a cheese press, and w T hat i ot. 
Ellen did not stay long to look, but went out to find some- 
thing pleasanter. A few yards from the shed door was the 
little gate through which she had stumbled in the dark, and 
outside of that Ellen stood still awhile. It was a fair, pleas- 
ant day, and the country scene she looked upon was very 
pretty. Ellen thought so. Before her, at a little distance, 
rose the great gable end of the barn, and a long row of out- 
houses stretched away from it towards the left. The ground 



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129 



was strewn thick with chips ; and the reason was not hard to 
find, for a little way off, under an old stunted apple tree, lay a 
huge log, well chipped on the upper surface, with the axe rest- 
ing against it ; and close by were some sticks of wood both 
chopped and unchopped. To the right, the ground de- 
scended gently to a beautiful plane meadow, skirted on the 
hither side with a row of fine apple trees. The smooth green 
flat tempted Ellen to a run, but first she looked to the left. 
There was the garden, she guessed, for there was a paling 
fence which enclosed a pretty large piece of ground ; and be- 
tween the garden and the house a green slope ran down to 
the spout. That reminded her that she had intended making 
a journey of discovery up the course of the long trough. No 
time could be better than now, and she ran down the slope. 

The trough was supported at some height from the ground 
by little heaps of stones placed here and there along its whole 
course. Not far from the spout it crossed a fence. Ellen 
must cross it too to gain her object, and how that could be 
done was a great question ; she resolved to try, however. 
But first she played awhile with the water, which had great 
charms for her. She dammed up the little channel with her 
fingers, forcing the water to flow over the side of the trough ; — 
there was something very pleasant in stopping the supply of 
the spout, and seeing the water trickling over where it had 
no business to go ; and she did not heed that some of the 
drops took her frock in their way. She stooped her lips to 
the trough and drank of its sweet current, — only for fun's 
sake, for she was not thirsty. Finally, she set out to follow 
the stream up to its head. But poor Ellen had not gone 
more than half way towards the fence, when she all at once 
plunged into the mire. The green grass growing there had 
looked fair enough, but there was running water and black 
mud under the green grass, she found to her sorrow. Her 
shoes, her stockings, were full. What was to be done, now ? 
The journey of discovery must be given up. She forgot to 
think about where the water came from, in the more pressing 
question, " What will aunt Fortune say ?" — and the quick 
wish came that she had her mother to go to. However, she 
got out of the slough, and wiping her shoes as well as she 
could on the grass, she hastened back to the house. 

The kitchen was all put in order, the hearth swept, the 



130 



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irons at the fire, and Miss Fortune just pinning her ironing 
blanket on the table. "Well, — what's the matter?" she 
said, when she saw Ellen's face ; but as her glance reached 
the floor, her brow darkened. " Mercy on mej " she ex- 
claimed, with slow emphasis, — "what on earth have you 
been about ? where have you been *? " 
Ellen explained. 

" Well, you have made a figure of yourself ! Sit down !" 
said her aunt, shortly, as she thrust a chair down on the 
hearth before the fire ; "I should have thought you'd have 
had wit enough at your age to keep out of the ditch." 

" I didn't see any ditch," said Ellen. 
* " No, I suppose not," said Miss Fortune, who was ener- 
getically twitching off Ellen's shoes and stockings with her 
fore finger and thumb ; " I suppose not ! you were staring up 
at the moon or stars, I suppose." 

" It all looked green and smooth," said poor Ellen ; " one 
part just like another; and the first thing I knew 1 was up 
to my ankles." 

" What were you there at all for ?" said Miss Fortune, 
shortly enough. 

" I couldn't see where the water came from, and I wanted 
to find out." 

" Well you've found out enough for one day I hope. Just 
look at those stockings ! Ha'n't you got never a pair of 
colored stockings, that you must go poking into the mud with 
white ones ? " 

" No, ma'am." 

" Do you mean to say you never wore any but white ones 
at home ? " 

" Yes, ma'am ; I never had any others." 

Miss Fortune's thoughts seemed too much for speech, from 
the way in which she jumped up and went off without say- 
ing anything more. She presently came back with an old 
pair of gray socks, which she bade Ellen put on as soon as 
her feet were dry. 

" How many of those white stockings have- you ? " she 
said. 

" Mamma bought me half a dozen pair of new ones just 
before I came away, and I had as many as that of old ones 
besides." 



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131 



" Well now go up to your trunk and bring 'em all down 
to me — every pair of white stockings you have got. There's 
a pair of old slippers you can put on till your shoes are dry," 
she said, flinging them to her ; — " they arn't much too big for 
you." 

" They're not much too big for the socks — they're a great 
deal too big for me," thought Ellen. But she said nothing. 
She gathered all her stockings together and brought them 
down stairs, as her aunt had bidden her. 

" Now you may run out to the barn, to Mr. Van Brunt, 
— you'll find him there, — and tell him I want him to bring 
me some white maple bark, when he comes home to dinner, 
— white maple bark, do you hear ?" 

Away went Ellen, but in a few minutes came back. " I 
can't get in," she said. 

" What's the matter ?" 

" Those great doors are shut, and I can't open them. I 
knocked, but nobody came." 

" Knock at a barn door !" said Miss Fortune. " You must 
go in at the little cowhouse door, at the left, and go round. 
He's in the lower barn-floor." 

The barn stood lower than the level of the chip-yard, from 
which a little bridge led to the great door- way of the second 
floor. Passing down the range of outhouses, Ellen came to 
the little door her aunt had spoken of. " But what in the 
world should I do if there should be cows inside there ?" 
said she to herself. She peeped in ; — the cowhouse was 
perfectly empty ; and cautiously, and with many a fearful 
glance to the right and left, lest some terrible horned animal 
should present itself, Ellen made her way across the cow- 
house, and through the barn-yard, littered thick with straw 
wet and dry, to the lower barn-floor. The door of this stood 
wide open. Ellen looked with wonder and pleasure when 
she got in. It was an immense room — the sides showed 
nothing but hay up to the ceiling, except here and there an 
enormous upright post ; the floor was perfectly clean, only 
a few locks of hay and grains of wheat scattered upon it ; 
and a pleasant sweet smell was there, Ellen could not tell of 
what. But no Mr. Van Brunt. She looked about for him, 
she dragged her disagreeable slippers back and forth over 
the floor, in vain. 



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" Hilloa ! what's wanting ?" at length cried a rough voice 
she remembered very well. But where was the speaker? 
On every side, to every corner, her eyes turned without 
finding him. She looked up at last. There was the round 
face of Mr. Van Brunt peering down at her through a large 
opening or trap-door, in the upper floor. 

" Well !" said he, " have you come out here to help me 
thrash wheat !" 

Ellen told him what she had come for. 

" White maple bark, — well," — said he, in his slow way, 
" I'll bring it. I wonder what's in the wind now." 

So Ellen wondered, as she slowly went back to the house ; 
and yet more, when her aunt set her to tacking her stockings 
together by two and two. 

" What are you going to do with them, aunt Fortune ?" 
she at last ventured to say. 

" You'll see, — when the time comes." 

"Mayn't I keep out one pair?" said Ellen, who had a 
vague notion that by some mysterious means her stockings 
were to be prevented from ever looking white any more. 

" No ; — just do as I tell you." 

Mr. Van Brunt came at dinner-time with the white maple 
bark. It was thrown forthwith into a brass kettle of water 
which Miss Fortune had already hung over the fire. Ellen 
felt sure this had something to do with her stockings, but she 
could ask no questions ; and as soon as dinner was over she 
went up to her room. It didn't look pleasant now. The 
brown wood- work and rough dingy walls had lost their 
gilding. The sunshine was out of it ; and what was more, 
the sunshine was out of Ellen's heart too. She went to the 
window and opened it, but there was nothing to keep it 
open ; it slid down again as soon as she let it go. Baffled and 
sad, she stood leaning her elbows on the window-sill, looking 
out on the grass-plat that lay before the door, and the little 
gate that opened on the lane, and the smooth meadow, and 
rich broken country beyond. It was a very fair and pleasant 
scene in the soft sunlight of the last of October ; but the 
charm of it was gone for Ellen ; it was dreary. She looked 
without caring to look, or knowing what she was looking at ; 
she felt the tears rising to her eyes ; and sick of the window, 
turned away. Her eye fell on her trnnk ; her next thought 



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was of her desk inside of it ; and suddenly her heart sprang ; 
— " I will write to mamma !" No sooner said than done. The 
trunk was quickly open, and hasty hands pulled out one thing 
after another till the desk was reached. 

" But what shall I do ?" thought she, — " there isn't a sign 
of a table. O what a place ! I'll shut my trunk and put it 
on that. But here are all these things to put back first." 

They were eagerly stowed away ; and then kneeling by 
the side of the trunk, with loving hands Ellen opened her 
desk. A sheet of paper was drawn from her store, and 
properly placed before her ; the pen dipped in the ink, and 
at first with a hurried, then with a trembling hand, she wrote, 
" My dear Mamma." But Ellen's heart had been swelling 
and swelling, with every letter of those three words, and 
scarcely was the last " a " finished, when the pen was dashed 
down, and flinging away from the desk, she threw herself on 
the floor in a passion of grief. It seemed as if she had her 
mother again in her arms, and was clinging with a death- 
grasp not to be parted from her. And then the feeling that 
she was parted ! — As much bitter sorrow as a little heart can 
know was in poor Ellen's now. In her childish despair she 
wished she could die, and almost thought she should. After 
a time, however, though not a short time, she rose from the 
floor and went to her writing again ; her heart a little eased 
by weeping, yet the tears kept coming all the time, and she 
could not quite keep her paper from being blotted. The first 
sheet was spoiled before she was aware ; she took another. 

" My Dearest Mamma, 

" It makes me so glad and so sorry to write to you, that I 
don't know what to do. I want to see you so much, mamma, 
that it seems to me sometimes as if my heart would break. 
0, mamma, if I could just kiss you once more, I would give 
anything in the whole world. I can't be happy as long as you 
are away, and I am afraid I can't be good either ; but I will 
try. I will try, mamma. I have so much to say to you 
that I don't know where to begin. I am sure my paper will 
never hold it all. You will want to know about my journey. 
The first day was on the steamboat, you know. I should 
have had a dreadful time that day, mamma, but for some- 
thing I'll tell you about. I was sitting up on the upper deck. 



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thinking about you, and feeling very badly indeed, when a 
gentleman came and spoke to me, and asked me what was 
the matter. Mamma, I can't tell you how kind he was to me. 
He kept me with him the whole day. He took me all over 
the boat, and showed me all about a great many things, and 
he talked to me a great deal. 0, mamma, how he talked to 
me. He read in the Bible to me, and explained it, and he 
tried to make me be a Christian. And 0, mamma, when he 
was talking to me, how I wanted to do as he said, and I 
resolved I would. I did, mamma, and I have not forgotten 
it. I will try indeed, but I am afraid it will be very hard 
without you or him, or anybody else to help me. You 
couldn't have been kinder yourself, mamma ; he kissed me 
at night when I bid him good-bye, and I was very sorry 
indeed. I wish I could see him again. Mamma, I will 
always love that gentleman if I never see him again in the 
world. I wish there was somebody here that I could love, 
but there is not. You will want to know what sort of a per- 
son my aunt Fortune is. I think she is very good looking, 
or she would be if her nose was not quite so sharp : but, 
mamma, I can't tell you what sort of a feeling I have about 
her ; it seems to me as if she was sharp all over. I am sure 
her eyes are as sharp as two needles. And she don't walk 
like other people ; at least sometimes. She makes queer 
little jerks and starts and jumps, and flies about like T don't 
know what. I am afraid it is not right for me to write so about 
her ; but may I not tell you, mamma ? There's nobody else 
for me to talk to. I can't like aunt Fortune much yet, and 
I am sure she don't like me ; but I will try to make her. I 
have not forgotten what you said to me about that. 0, dear 
mamma, I will try to mind everything you "ever said to me 
in your life. I am afraid you won't like what I have written 
about aunt Fortune ; but indeed I have done nothing to dis- 
please her, and I will try not to. If you were only here, 
mamma, I should say it was the loveliest place I ever saw in 
my life. Perhaps, after all, I shall feel better, and be quite 
happy by-and-by ; but O, mamma, how glad I shall be when 
I get a letter from you. I shall begin to look for it soon, and 
I t\ .ink I shall go out of my wits with joy when it comes. I 
had the funniest ride down here from Thirlwall that you can 
think ; how do you guess I came ? In a cart drawn by oxen. 



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They went so slow we were an age getting here ; but I liked 
it very much. There was a good-natured man driving the 
oxen, and he was kind to me ; but, mamma, what do you 
think ? he eats at the table. I know what you would tell 
me ; you would say I must not mind trifles. Well, I will 
try not, mamma. O darling mother, I can't think much of 
anything but you. I think of you the whole time. Who 
makes tea for you now ? Are you better ? Are you going 
to leave New York soon ? It seems dreadfully long since X 
saw you. I am tired, dear mamma, and cold ; and it is getting 
dark. I must stop. I have a good big room to myself ; that 
is a good thing. I should not like to sleep with aunt For- 
tune. Good night, dear mamma. I wish I could sleep with 
you once more. 0, when will that be again, mamma ? Good 
night. Good night. 

" Your affectionate Ellen." 

The letter finished was carefully folded, enclosed, and 
directed ; and then with an odd mixture of pleasure and sad- 
ness, Ellen lit one of her little wax matches, as she called 
them, and sealed it very nicely. She looked at it fondly 
a minute when all was done, thinking of the dear fingers that 
would hold and open it ; her next movement was to sink her 
face in her hands, and pray most earnestly for a blessing upon 
her mother, and help for herself, — poor Ellen felt she needed 
it. She was afraid of lingering lest tea should be ready ; so, 
locking up her letter, she went down stairs. 

The tea was ready. Miss Fortune and Mr. Yan Brunt 
were at the table, and so was the old lady, whom Ellen had 
not seen before that day. She quietly drew up her chair to 
its place. 

" Well," said Miss Fortune, " I hope you feel better for 
your long stay up stairs." 

" I do, ma'am," said Ellen ; " a great deal better." 

" What have you been about ?" 

" I have been writing, ma'am." 

" Writing what?" 

" I have been writing to mamma." 

Perhaps Miss Fortune heard the trembling of Ellen's voice, 
or her sharp glance saw the lip quiver and eyelid droop. 
Something softened her. She spoke in a different tone ; 



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asked Ellen if her tea was good ; took care she had plenty 
of the bread and butter, and excellent cheese, which was on 
the table ; and lastly cut her a large piece of the pumpkin 
pie. Mr. Van Brunt too looked once or twice at Ellen's face 
as if he thought all was not right there. He was not so sharp 
as Miss Fortune, but the swollen eyes and tear-stains were 
not quite lost upon him. 

After tea, when Mr. Van Brunt was gone, and the tea- 
things cleared away, Ellen had the pleasure of finding out 
the mystery of the brass kettle and the white maple bark. 
The kettle now stood in the chimney comer. Miss Fortune, 
seating herself before it, threw in all Ellen's stockings except 
one pair, which she flung over to her, saying, " There — I 
don't care if you keep that one." Then, tucking up her 
sleeves to the elbows, she fished up pair after pair out of the 
kettle, and wringing them out hung them on chairs to dry. 
But, as Ellen had opined, they were no longer white, but of 
a fine slate color. She looked on in silence, too much vexed 
to ask questions. 

" Well, how do you like that ?" said Miss Fortune at length, 
when she had got two or three chairs round the fire pretty 
well hung with a display of slate-colored cotton legs. 

" I don't like it at all/' said Ellen. 

" Well, / do. How many pair of white stockings would you 
like to drive into the mud and let me wash out every week ?" 

" You wash !" said Ellen, in surprise ; " I didn't think of 
your doing it." 

" Who did you think was going to do it ? There's nothing 
in this house but goes through my hands, I can tell you, and 
so must you. I suppose you've lived all your life among 
people that thought a great deal of wetting their little finger ; 
but I'm not one of 'em, I guess you'll find." 

Ellen was convinced of that already. 

" Well, what are you thinking of ?" said Miss Fortune 
presently. 

" I am thinking of my nice white darning-cotton," said 
Ellen. " I might just as well not have had it." 
" Is it wound, or in the skein ?" 
" In the skein." 

" Then just go right up and get it. I'll warrant I'll fix it 
so that you'll have a use for it." 



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Ellen obeyed, but musing rather uncomfortably what else 
there was of" hers that Miss Fortune could lay hands on. 
She seemed in imagination to see all her white things turning 
brown. She resolved she would keep her trunk well locked 
up ; but what if her keys should be called for ? 

She was dismissed to her room soon after the dyeing busi- 
ness was completed. It was rather a disagreeable surprise 
to find her bed still unmade ; and she did not at all like the 
notion that the making of it in future must depend entirely 
upon herself ; Ellen had no fancy for such handiwork. She 
went to sleep in somewhat the same dissatisfied mood with 
which the day had been begun ; — displeasure at her coarse 
heavy coverlid and cotton sheets again taking its place among 
weightier matters ; — and dreamed of tying them together into 
a rope by which to let herself down out of the window ; but 
when she had got so far, Ellen's sleep became sound, and the 
end of the dream was never known. 



CHAPTER XI. 



Downward, and ever farther, 

And ever the brook beside ; 
And ever fresher murmored, 

And ever clearer, the tide. 

Longfellow. From the German. 

Clouds and rain and cold winds kept Ellen within doors 
for several days. This did not better the state of matters 
between herself and her aunt. Shut up with her in the 
kitchen from morning till night, with the only variety of the 
old lady's company part of the time, Ellen thought neither 
of them improved upon acquaintance. Perhaps they thought 
the same of her; she was certainly not in her best mood. 
With nothing to do, the time hanging very heavy on her 
hands, disappointed, unhappy, frequently irritated, Ellen be- 
came at length very ready to take offence, and nowise dis- 
posed to pass it over or smooth it, away. She seldom showed 
this in words, it is true, but it rankled in her mind. Listless 
and brooding, she sat day after day, comparing the present 
with the past, wishing vain wishes, indulging bootless regrets, 
and looking upon her aunt and grandmother with an eye of 
more settled aversion. The only other person she saw was 
Mr. Van Brunt, who came in regularly to meals ; but he 
never said anything unless in answer to Miss Fortune's ques- 
tions and remarks about the farm concerns. These did not 
interest her ; and she was greatly wearied with the sameness 
of her life. She longed to go out again ; but Thursday, and 
Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday passed, and the weather 
still kept her close prisoner. Monday brought a change, but 
though a cool, drying wind blew all day, the ground was too 
wet to venture out. 

On the evening of that day, as Miss Fortune was setting 
the table for tea, and Ellen sitting before the fire, feeling 



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weary of everything, the kitchen door opened, and a gir] 
somewhat larger and older than herself came in. She had a 
pitcher in her hand, and marching straight up to the tea- 
table, she said, 

" Will you let granny have a little milk to-night, Miss For- 
tune ? I can't find the cow. I'll bring it back to-morrow." 
" You ha'n't lost her, Nancy ?" 

" Have, though," said the other ; " she's been away these 
two days." 

" Why didn't you go somewhere nearer for milk ?" 

H Oh ! I don't know — I guess your'n is the sweetest," said 
the girl, with a look Ellen did not understand. 

Miss Fortune took the pitcher and went into the pantry. 
While she was gone, the two children improved the time in 
looking very hard at each other. Ellen's gaze was modest 
enough, though it showed a great deal of interest in the new 
object ; but the broad, searching stare of the other seemed 
intended to taKe in all there was of Ellen from her head to 
her feet, and keep it, and find out what sort of a creature she 
was at once. Ellen almost shrank from the bold black eyes, 
but they never wavered, till Miss Fortune's voice broke the 
spell. 

" How's your grandmother, Nancy ?" 

" She's tolerable, ma'am, thank you." 

" Now if you don't bring it back to-morrow, you won't get 
any more in a hurry," said Miss Fortune, as she handed the 
pitcher back to the girl. 

" I'll mind it," said the latter, with a little nod of her head, 
which seemed to say there was no danger of her forgetting. 

" Who is that, aunt Fortune ?" said Ellen, when she was 
gone. 

" She is a girl that lives up on the mountain yonder." 
"But what's her name ?" 

"I had just as lief you wouldn't know her name. She 
aint a good girl. Don't you never have anything to do with 
her." 

Ellen was in no mind to give credit to all her aunt's opi- 
nions, and she set this down as in part at least coming from 
ill-humor. 

The next morning was calm and fine, and Ellen spent near- 
ly the whole of it out of doors. She did not venture near 



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the ditch, but in every other direction she explored the 
ground, and examined what stood or grew upon it as tho- 
roughly as she dared. Towards noon she was standing by 
the little gate at the back of the house, unwilling to go in, 
but not knowing w hat more to do, when Mr. Van Brunt came 
from the lane with a load of wood. Ellen watched the oxen 
toiling up the ascent, and thought it looked like very hard 
work ; she was sorry for them. 

"Isn't that a very heavy load ?" she asked of their driver, 
as he was throwing it down under the apple tree. 

" Heavy ? Not a bit of it. It aint nothing at all to 'em. 
They'd take twice as much any day with pleasure." 

" I shouldn't think so," said Ellen ; " they don't look as if 
there was much pleasure about it. What makes them lean 
over so against each other when they are coming up hill ?" 

" Oh, that's just a way they've got. They're so fond of 
each other, I suppose. Perhaps they've something particu- 
lar to say, and want to put their heads together for the pur- 
pose." 

" No," said Ellen, half laughing, " it can't be that ; they 
wouldn't take the very hardest time for that ; they would 
wait till they got to the top of the hill ; but there they stand 
just as if they were asleep, only their eyes are open. Poor 
things !" 

"They're not very poor anyhow," said Mr. Van Brunt ; 
** there aint a finer yoke of oxen to be seen than them are, 
nor in better condition." 

He went on throwing the wood out of the cart, and Ellen 
stood looking at him. 

" What'll you give me if I'll make you a scup one of these 
days ?" said Mr. Van Brunt. 

" A scup !" said Ellen. 

" Yes — a scup ! how would you like it ?" 

" I don't know what it is," said Ellen. 

" A scup ! — maybe you don't know it by that name ; some 
folks call it a swing." 

" A swing ! yes," said Ellen, " now I know. 0, I like 
it very much." 

" Would you like to have one ?" 

"Yes indeed I should, very much." 

" Well, what'll you give me, if I'll fix you out ?" 



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141 



" I don't know," said Ellen, " I have nothing to give ; I'll 
be very much obliged to you, indeed." 

" Well now, come, I'll make a bargain with you : I'll engage 
to fix up a scup for you, if you'll give me a kiss." 

Poor Ellen was struck dumb. The good-natured Dutch- 
man had taken a fancy to the little pale-faced, sad -looking 
stranger, and really felt very kindly disposed toward her, 
but she neither knew, nor at the moment cared about that. 
She stood motionless, utterly astounded at his unheard-of 
proposal, and not a little indignant ; but when, with a good- 
natured smile upon his round face, he came near to claim the 
kiss he no doubt thought himself sure of, Ellen shot from 
him like an arrow from a bow. She rushed to the house, 
and bursting open the door, stood with flushed face and 
sparkling eyes in the presence of her astonished aunt. 

" What in the world is the matter ?" exclaimed that lady. 

" He wanted to kiss me !" said Ellen, scarce knowing whom 
she was talking to, and crimsoning more and more. 

" Who wanted to kiss you ?" 

" That man out there." 

" What man ?" 

" The man that drives the oxen." 

"What, Mr. Van Brunt?" And Ellen never forgot the 
loud ha! ha! which burst from Miss Fortune's wide-open 
mouth. 

" Well, why didn't you let him kiss you ?" 

The laugh, the look, the tone, stung Ellen to the very 
quick. In a fury of passion she dashed away out of the 
kitchen, and up to her own room. And there, for a while, 
the storm of anger drove over her with such violence that 
conscience had hardly time to whisper. Sorrow came in 
again as passion faded, and gentler but very bitter weeping 
took the place of convulsive sobs of rage and mortification, 
and then the whispers of conscience began to be heard a 
little. " mamma ! mamma !" cried poor Ellen in her 
heart, " how miserable I am without you ! I never can like 
aunt Fortune — its of no use — I never can like her ; I hope 
I sha'n't get to hate her ! — and that isn't right. I am forget- 
ting all that is good, and there's nobody to put me in mind. 
mamma ! if 1 could lay my head in your lap for a minute l" 
Then came thoughts of her Bible and hymn-book, and the 



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friend who had given it ; sorrowful thoughts they were ; and 
at last, humbled and sad, poor Ellen sought that great friend 
she knew she had displeased, and prayed earnestly to be 
made a good child ; she felt and owned she was not one 
now. 

It was long after mid-day when Ellen rose from her 
knees. Her passion was all gone ; she felt more gentle and 
pleasant than she had done for days ; but at the bottom of 
her heart resentment was not all gone. She still thought 
she had cause to be angry, and she could not think of her 
aunt's look and tone without a thrill of painful feeling. In 
a very different mood, however, from that in which she had 
flown up stairs two or three hours before, she now came softly 
down, and went out by the front door, to avoid meeting her 
aunt. She had visited that morning a little brook which ran 
through the meadow on the other side of the road. It had 
great charms for her ; and now crossing the lane and creeping 
under the fence, she made her way again to its banks. At 
a particular spot, where the brook made one of its sudden 
turns, Ellen sat down upon the grass, and watched the dark 
water, — whirling, brawling over the stones, hurrying past her, 
with ever the same soft pleasant sound, and she was never tired 
of it. She did not hear footsteps drawing near, and it was not 
till some one was close beside her, and a voice spoke almost 
in her ears, that she raised her startled eyes and saw the little 
girl who had come the evening before for a pitcher of milk. 

" What are you doing?" said the latter. 

" I'm watching for fish," said Ellen. 

" Watching for fish !" said the other, rather disdainfully. 

" Yes," said Ellen, — " there, in that little quiet place they 
come sometimes ; I've seen two.'' 

" You can look for fish another time. Come now and take 
a walk with me." 

" Where ?" said Ellen. 

" 0, you shall see. Come ! I'll take you all about and 
show you where people live ; you ha'n't been anywhere yet, 
have you ?" 

No," said Ellen, — " and I should like dearly to go, but " — 
She hesitated. Her aunt's words came to mind, that this 
was not a good girl, and that she must have nothing to do 
with her ; but she had not more than half believed them, and 



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she could not possibly bring herself now to go in and ask 
Miss Fortune's leave to take this walk. " I am sure," 
thought Ellen, " she would refuse me if there was no reason 
in the world." And then the delight of rambling through 
the beautiful country, and being for awhile in other company 
than that of her aunt Fortune and the old grandmother ! 
The temptation was too great to be withstood. 

" Well, what are you thinking about ?" said the girl ; 
" what's the matter? won't you come ? " 

"Yes," said Ellen, "I'm ready. Which way shall we 
go?" 

With the assurance from the other that she would show 
her plenty of ways, they set off down the lane ; Ellen with a 
secret fear of being seen and called back, till they had gone 
some distance, and the house was hid from view. Then her 
pleasure became great. The afternoon was fair and mild, the 
footing pleasant, and Ellen felt like a bird out of a cage. 
She was ready to be delighted with every trifle ; her com- 
panion could not by any means understand or enter into 
her bursts of pleasure at many a little thing which she of the 
black eyes thought not worthy of notice. She tried to bring 
Ellen back to higher subjects of conversation. 

" How long have you been here ?" she asked. 

" 0, a good while," said Ellen, — " I don't know exactly ; 
it's a week, I believe." 

•* Why do you call that a good while ?" said the other. 

" Well, it seems a good while to me,'' said Ellen, sighing ; 
" it seems as long as four, I am sure." 

" Then you don't like to live here much, do you ?" 

" I had rather be at home, of course." 

" How do you like your aunt Fortune ?" 

" How do I like her ?" said Ellen, hesitating, — " I think 
she's good-looking, and very smart." 

" Yes, you needn't tell me she's smart, — everybody knows 
that ; that aint what I ask you ; — how do you like her ?" 

" How do I like her ?" said Ellen, again ; " how can I tell 
how I shall like her ? I haven't lived with her but a week 

" You might just as well ha' spoke out," said the other, 
somewhat scornfully ; — " do you think I don't know you half 
hate her already ? and it '11 be whole hating in another week 



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more. When I first heard you'd come, I guessed you'd have 
a sweet time with her." 
" Why ?" said Ellen, 

" don't ask me why," said the other, impatiently, 
" when you know as well as I do. Every soul that speaks 
of you says ' poor child !' and ' I'm glad I aint her.' You 
needn't try to come cunning over me. I shall be too much 
for you, I tell you." 

" I don't know what you mean," said Ellen. 

" no, I suppose you don't," said the other, in the same 
tone, — " of course you don't ; I suppose you don't know 
whether your tongue is your own or somebody's else. You 
think Miss Fortune is an angel, and so do I ; to be sure she 
is !" 

Not very well pleased with this kind of talk, Ellen walked 
on for a while in grave silence. Her companion meantime 
recollected herself ; when she spoke again it was with an 
altered tone. 

" How do you like Mr. Van Brunt ?" 

" I don't like him at all," said Ellen, reddening. 

" Don't you !" said the other surprised, — " why every- 
body likes him. What don't you like him for ?" 

" I don't like him," repeated Ellen. 

" Aint Miss Fortune queer to live in the way she does ?" 
" What way ?" said Ellen. 

"Why, without any help, — doing all her own work, and 
living all alone, when she's so rich as she is." 
"Is she rich ?" asked Ellen. 

" Rich ! I guess she is ? she's one of the very best farms 
in the country, and money enough to have a dozen help, if 
she wanted 'em. Van Brunt takes care of the farm, you 
know ? " 

•'Does he?" said Ellen. 

" Why yes, of course he does ; didn't you know that ? 
what did you think he was at your house all the time for ?" 

" I am sure I don't know," said Ellen. " And are those 
aunt Fortune's oxen that he drives ?" 

" To be sure they are. Well, I do think you are green, to 
have been there all this time, and not found that out. Mr. 
Van Brunt does just what he pleases over the whole farm 
though ; hires what help he wants, manages everything ; 



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145 



and then lie has his share of all that comes off it. I 
tell you what — you'd better make friends with Van Brunt, 
for if anybody can help you when your aunt gets one of her 
ugly fits, it's him ; she don't care to meddle with him much." 

Leaving the lane, the two girls took a foot-path leading 
across the fields. The stranger was greatly amused here 
with Ellen's awkwardness in climbing fences. Where it was 
a possible thing, she was fain to crawl under ; but .once or 
twice that could not be done, and having with infinite diffi- 
culty mounted to the top rail, poor Ellen sat there in a most 
tottering condition, uncertain on which side of the fence she 
should tumble over, but seeing no other possible way of get- 
ting down. The more she trembled the more her compan- 
ion laughed, standing aloof meanwhile, and insisting she 
should get down by herself. Necessity enabled her to do 
this at last, and each time the task became easier ; but Ellen 
secretly made up her mind that her new friend was not likely 
to prove a very good one. 

As they went along, she pointed out to Ellen two or three 
houses in the distance, and gave her not a little gossip about 
the people who lived in them ; but all this Ellen scarcely 
heard, and cared nothing at all about. She had paused by 
the side of a large rock standing alone by the wayside, and 
was looking very closely at its surface. 

" What is this curious brown stuff," said Ellen, " growing 
all over the rock? — like shrivelled and dried up leaves? Isn't 
it curious ? part of it stands out like a leaf, and part of it 
sticks fast ; I wonder if it grows here, or what it is." 

" never mind," said the other ; it always grows on the 
rocks everywhere ; I don't know what it is, and what's more 
I don't care. 'Taint worth looking at. Come !" 

Ellen followed her. But presently the path entered an 
open woodland, and now her delight broke forth beyond 
bounds. 

" 0, how pleasant this is ! how lovely this is ! Isn't it beau- 
tiful ?" she exclaimed. 

" Isn't what beautiful ? I do think you are the queerest 
girl, Ellen." 

" Why, everything," said Ellen, not minding the latter 
part of the sentence ; " the ground is beautiful, and those 
tall trees, and that beautifid blue sky — only look at it." 



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" The ground is all covered with stones and rocks, — is that 
what you call beautiful ? and the trees are as homely as they 
can be, with their great brown stems and no leaves. Come ! 
— what are you staring at ?" 

Ellen's eyes were fixed on a string of dark spots which 
were rapidly passing overhead. 

"Hark!" said she; "do you hear that noise? what is 
that ? what is that ?" 

" It's only a flock of ducks," said the other, contemptu- 
ously ; " come ! do come !" 

But Ellen was rooted to the ground, and her eyes followed 
the airy travellers till the last one had quitted the piece of 
blue sky which the surrounding woods left to be seen. And 
scarcely were these gone when a second flight came in view, 
following exactly in the track of the first. 

" Where are they going ?" said Ellen. 

" I am sure I don't know where they are going ; they 
never told me. I know where / am going ; I should like to 
know whether you are going along with me." 

Ellen, however, was in no hurry. The ducks had disap- 
peared, but her eye had caught something else that charmed it. 

" What is this"?" said Ellen. 

" Nothing but moss." 

" Is that moss ! How beautiful ! how green and soft it is ! 
I declare it's as soft as a carpet." 

"As soft as a carpet!" repeated the other; "I should 
like to see a carpet as soft as that ! you never did, I guess," 

" Indeed I have, though," said Ellen, who was gently 
jumping up and down on the green moss to try its softness, 
with a face of great satisfaction. 

" I don't believe it a bit," said the other ; " all the car- 
pets I ever saw were as hard as a board, and harder ; as soft 
as that, indeed !" 

" Well," said Ellen, still jumping up and down, with bonnet 
off, and glowing cheek, and hair dancing about her face, 
" you may believe what you like ; but I've seen a carpet as 
soft as this, and softer too ; only one, though." 

" What was it made of?" 

" What other carpets are made of, I suppose. Come, I'll 
go with you now. I do think this is the loveliest place I 
ever did see. Are there any flowers here in the spring ?" 



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" I don't know — yes, lots of 'em." 
" Pretty ones ?" said Ellen. 

" You'd think so, I suppose ; I never look at 'em." 

" 0, how lovely that will be !" said Ellen, clasping her 
hands ; " how pleasant it must be to live in the country !" 

"Pleasant, indeed !" said the other ; " I think it's hateful. 
You'd think so, too, if you lived where I do. It makes me 
mad at granny every day because she won't go to Thirlwall. 
Wait till we get out of the wood, and I'll show you where I 
live. You can't see it from here." 

Shocked a little at her companion's language, Ellen again 
walked on in sober silence. Gradually the ground became 
more broken, sinking rapidly from the side of the path, and 
rising again in a steep bank on the other side of a narrow 
dell ; both sides were thickly wooded, but stripped of green, 
now, except where here and there a hemlock flung its grace- 
ful branches abroad and stood in lonely beauty among its 
leafless companions. Now the gurgling of waters was heard. 

" Where is that ?" said Ellen, stopping short. 

"'Way down, down, at the bottom there. It's the brook." 

" What brook ? Not the same that goes by aunt For- 
tune's ?" 

" Yes, it's the very same. It's the crookedest thing you 
ever saw. It runs over there," said the speaker, pointing 
with her arm, " and then it takes a turn and goes that way, 
and then it comes round so, and then it shoots off in that way 
again and passes by your house; and after that the dear 
knows where it goes, for I don't. But I don't suppose it 
could run straight if it was to try to." 

" Can't we get down to it ?" asked Ellen. 

" To be sure we can, unless you're as afraid of steep banks 
as you are of fences." 

Very steep indeed it was, and strewn with loose stones ; 
but Ellen did not falter here, and though once or twice in 
imminent danger of exchanging her cautious stepping for one 
long roll to the bottom, she got there safely on her two feet. 
When there, everything was forgotten in delight. It was a 
wild little place. The high, close sides of the dell left only a 
little strip of sky overhead ; and at their feet ran the brook, 
much more noisy and lively here than where Ellen had before 
made its acquaintance ; leaping from rock to rock, eddying 



148 



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round large stones, and boiling over the small ones, and now 
and then pouring quietly over some great trunk of a tree 
that had fallen across its bed and dammed up the whole 
stream. Ellen could scarcely contain herself at the magnifi- 
cence of many of the waterfalls, the beauty of the little 
quiet pools where the water lay still behind some large stone, 
and the variety of graceful tiny cascades. 

" Look here, Nancy !" cried Ellen, "that's the Falls of 
Niagara — do you see ? — that large one ; that is splendid ! 
And this will do for Trenton Falls — what a fine foam it makes 
— isn't it a beauty ? — and what shall we call this ? I don't 
know what to call it ; I wish we could name them all. But 
there's no end to them. 0, just look at that one ! that's too 
pretty not to have a name ; what shall it be ?" 

" Black Falls," suggested the other. 

" Black," said Ellen, dubiously, " why ? — I don't like 
that." 

" Why the water's all dark and black, don't you see ?" 

" Well," said Ellen, « let it be Black, then ; but I don't like 
it. Now remember, — this is Niagara, — that is Black, — and 
this is Trenton, — and what is this ?" 

" If you are a-going to name them all," said Nancy, " we 
shan't get home to-night ; you might as well name all the 
trees ; there's a hundred of 'em, and more. I say, Ellen ! 
suppos'n we follow the brook instead of climbing up yonder 
again ; it will take us out to the open fields by-and-by." 

" do let's ! said Ellen ; " that will be lovely." 

It proved a rough way ; but Ellen still thought and called 
it " lovely." Often by the side of the stream there was no foot- 
ing at all, and the girls picked their way over the stones, 
large and small, wet and dry, which strewed its bed ; against 
which the water foamed and fumed and fretted, as if in great 
impatience. It was ticklish work getting along over these 
stones ; now tottering on an unsteady one ; now slipping on 
a wet one ; — and every now and then making huge leaps from 
rock to rock, which there was no other method of reaching, 
at the imminent hazard of falling in. But they laughed at 
the danger ; sprang on in great glee, delighted with the ex- 
ercise and the fun ; didn't stay long enough anywhere to lose 
their balance, and enjoyed themselves amazingly. There was 
many a hair-breadth escape ; many an almost sousing ; but 



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149 



that made it all the more lively. The brook formed, as Nancy 
had said, a constant succession of little waterfalls, its course 
being quite steep and very rocky; and in some places 
there were pools quite deep enough to have given them 
a thorough wetting, to say no more, if they had missed 
their footing and tumbled in. But this did not happen. In 
due time, though with no little difficulty, they reached the 
spot where the brook came forth from the wood into the open 
day, and thence making a sharp turn to the right, skirted along 
by the edge of the trees, as if unwilling to part company 
with them. 

" I guess we'd better get back into the lane now," said 
Miss Nancy, " we're a pretty good long way from home." 



CHAPTER XII. 



"Behind the door stand bags o'meal, 
And in the ark is plenty. 
And good hard cakes his mither makes. 

And mony a sweeter dainty. 
A good fat sow, a sleeky cow 

Are standing in the byre; 
While winking puss, wi' mealy mou, 
Is playing round the fire." 

— Scotch Song. 

They left the wood and the brook behind them, and 
crossed a large stubble-field ; then got over a fence into 
another. They were in the midst of this when Nancy stopped ' 
Ellen, and bade her look up toward the west, where towered 
a high mountain, no longer hid from their view by the trees. 

" I told you I'd show you where I live," said she. " Look 
up now, — clear to the top of the mountain, almost, and a 
little to the right ; — do you see that little mite of a house 
there ? Look sharp, — it's a'most as brown as the rock, — do 
you see it ? — it's close by that big pine tree, but it don't look 
big from here — it's just by that little dark spot near the 
top ?" 

" I see it," said Ellen, — " I see it now ; do you live 'way 
up there ?" 

" That's just what I do ; and that's just what I wish I 
didn't. But granny likes it ; she will live there. I'm blessed 
if I know what for, if it aint to plague me. Do you think 
you'd like to live up on the top of a mountain like that ?" 

" No, I don't think I should," said Ellen. " Isn't it very 
cold up there ?" 

"Cold ! you don't know anything about it. The wind 
comes there, I tell you ! enough to cut you in two ; I have 
to take and hold on to the trees sometimes to keep from 
being blowed away. And then granny sends me out every 



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151 



morning before it's light, no matter how deep the snow is, to 
look for the cow ; — and it's so bitter cold I expect nothing 
else but I'll be froze to death some time." 

" Oh," said Ellen, with a look of t horror, " how can she do 
so?" 

" 0, she don't care," said the other ; " she sees my nose 
freeze off every winter, and it don't make no difference." 
"Freeze your nose off!" said Ellen. 

" To be sure," said the other, nodding gravely, — " every 
winter ; it grows out again when the warm weather comes." 

" And is that the reason why it is so little ?" said Ellen 
innocently, and with great curiosity. 

" Little !" said the other, crimsoning in a fury, — " what do 
you mean by that ? it's as big as your's any day, I can tell 
you." 

Ellen involuntarily put her hand to her face, to see if Nancy 
spoke true. Somewhat reassured to find a very decided ridge 
where her companion's nose was rather wanting in the line 
of beauty, she answered in her turn, — 

\ " It's no such thing, Nancy ! you oughtn't to say so ; you 
know better.' 

" I dont know better ! I ought to say so !" replied the 
other, furiously. " If I had your nose, I'd be glad to have it 
freeze off ; I'd a sight rather have none. I'd pull it every 
day, if I was you, to make it grow." 

" I shall believe what aunt Fortune said of you was true," 
said Ellen. She had colored very high, but she added no more, 
and walked on in dignified silence. Nancy stalked before her in 
silence that was meant to be dignified too, though it had not ex- 
actly that air. By degrees each cooled down, and Nancy was 
trying to find out what Miss Fortune had said of her, when on 
the edge of the next field they met the brook again. After 
running a long way to the right, it had swept round, and here 
was flowing gently in the opposite direction. But how were 
they ever to cross it ? The brook ran in a smooth current 
between them and a rising bank on the other side, so high 
as to prevent their seeing what lay beyond. There were no step- 
ping stones now. The only thing that looked like a bridge was 
an old log that had fallen across the brook, or perhaps had 
at some time or other been put there on purpose ; and that 
lay more than half in the water ; what remained of its sur- 



152 THE WIDE, "WIDE WORLD. 



face was green with moss and slippery with slime. Ellen was 
sadly afraid to trust herself on it ; but what to do ? — Nancy 
soon settled the question as far as she was concerned. Pull- 
ing off her thick shoes, «he ran fearlessly upon the rude 
bridge ; her clinging bare feet carried her safely over, and 
Ellen soon saw her reshoeing herself in triumph on the oppo- 
site side ; but thus left behind and alone, her own difficulty 
increased. 

" Pull off your shoes, and do as I did," said Nancy. 

" I can't," said Ellen ; "I'm afraid of wetting my feet ; 
I know mamma wouldn't let me." 

" Afraid of wetting your feet !" said the other; "what a 
chickaninny you are ! Well, if you try to come over with 
your shoes on you'll fall in, I tell you ; and then you'll wet 
more than your feet. But come along somehow, for I won't 
stand waiting here much longer." 

Thus urged, Ellen set out upon her perilous journey over 
the bridge. Slowly and fearfully, and with as much care as 
possible, she set step by step upon the slippery log. Already 
half of the danger was passed, when, reaching forward to 
grasp Nancy's outstretched hand, she missed it, — perhaps 
that was Nancy's fault, — poor Ellen lost her balance and went 
in head foremost. The water was deep enough to cover her 
completely as she lay, though not enough to prevent her 
getting up again. She was greatly frightened, but managed 
to struggle up first to a sitting posture, and then to her feet, 
and then to wade out to the shore ; though, dizzy and sick, 
she came near falling back a^ain more than once. The water 
was very cold ; and, thoroughly sobered, poor Ellen felt chill 
enough in body and mind too ; all her fine spirits were gone ; 
and not the less because Nancy's had risen to a great pitch 
of delight at her misfortune. The air rang with her laugh- 
ter ; she likened Ellen to every ridiculous thing she could 
think of. Too miserable to be angry, Ellen could not laugh, 
and would not cry, but she exclaimed in distress; — 

" what shall I do ! I am so cold !" 

" Come along," said Nancy ; " give me your hand ; we'll 
run right over to Mrs. Van Brunt's — 'taint far — it's just over 
here. There," said she, as they got to the top of the bank, 
and came within sight of a house standing only a few fields 
off, — " there it is ! Run, Ellen, and we'll be there directly." 



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153 



"Who is Mrs. Van Brunt?" Ellen contrived to say, as 
Nancy hurried her along. 

"Who is she? — run Ellen! — why she's just Mrs. Van 
Brunt — your Mr. Van Brunt's mother you know, — make 
haste, Ellen — we had rain enough the other day ; I'm afraid 
it wouldn't be good for the grass if you stayed too long in 
one place ; — hurry ! I'm afraid you'll catch cold, — you got 
your feet wet after all, I'm sure." 

Run they did ; and a few minutes brought them to Mrs. 
Van Brunt's door. The little brick walk leading to it from 
the courtyard gate was as neat as a pin ; so was every- 
thing else the eye could rest on ; and when Nancy went in 
poor Ellen stayed her foot at the door, unwilling to carry her 
wet shoes and dripping garments any further. She could 
hear, however, what was going on. 

" Hillo ! Mrs. Van Brunt," shouted Nancy, — " where are 
you? — oh! — Mrs. Van Brunt, are you out of water? — 'cos if 
you are I've brought you a plenty ; the person that has it 
don't want it ; she's just at the door ; she wouldn't bring it 
in till she knew you wanted it ; 0, Mrs Van Brunt, don't look 
so or you'll kill me with laughing. Come and see ! come 
and see." 

The steps within drew near the door, and first Nancy 
showed herself, and then a little old woman, not very old 
either, of very kind, pleasant countenance. 

"What is all this?" said she in great surprise. "Bless 
me ! poor little dear ! what is this ?" 

" Nothing in the world but a drowned rat, Mrs. Van Brunt, 
don't you see?" said Nancy. 

" Go home, Nancy Vawse ! go home," said the old lady ; 
" you're a regular bad girl. I do believe this is some mis- 
chief o' yourn, go right off home ; it's time you were after 
your cow a great while ago." 

As she spoke, she drew Ellen in, and shut the door. 

"Poor little dear," said the old lady, kindly, "what has 
happened to you ? Come to the fire, love, you're trembling 
with the cold. Oh, dear ! dear ! your soaking wet ; this 
is all along of Nancy somehow, I know ; how was it, love ? 
Aint you Miss Fortune's little girl ? Never mind, don't talk, 
darling ; there aint one bit of color in your face, not one bit." 

Good Mrs. Van Brunt had drawn Ellen to the fire, and all 
8 



154 



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this while she was pulling oft as fast as possible her wet 
clothes. Then sending a girl who was in waiting, for clean 
towels, she rubbed Ellen dry from head to foot, and wrapping 
her in a blanket, left her in a chair before the fire, while she 
went to seek something for her to put on. Ellen bad man- 
aged to tell who she was, and how her mischance had come 
about, but little else, though the kind old lady had kept 
on pouring out words of sorrow and pity during the whole 
time. She came trotting back directly with one of her own 
short gowns, the only thing that she could lay hands on 
that was anywhere near Ellen's length. Enormously big 
it was for her, but Mrs. Van Brunt wrapped it round and 
round, and the blanket over it again, and then she bustled 
about till she had prepared a tumbler of hot drink, which 
she said was to keep Ellen from catching cold. It was any 
thing but agreeable, being made from some birter herb, and 
sweetened w ith molasses ; but Ellen swallowed it, as she 
would anything else at such kind hands, and the old lady 
carried her herself into a little room opening out of the 
kitchen, and laid her in a bed that had been warmed for her. 
Excessively tired and weak as she was, Ellen scarcely needed 
the help of the hot herb tea to fall into a very deep sleep ; per- 
haps it might not have lasted so very long as it did, but for that. 
Afternoon changed for evening, evening grew quite dark, 
still Ellen did not stir ; and after every little journey into the 
bedroom to see how she was doinfr Mrs. Van Brunt came 
back saying how glad she was to see her sleeping so finely. 
Other eyes looked on her for a minute, — kind and gentle eyes ; 
though Mrs. Van. Brunt's were kind and gentle too ; once a soft 
kiss touched her forehead, there was no danger of waking her. 

It was perfectly dark in the little bedroom, and had been 
so a good while, when Ellen was aroused by some noise, and 
then a rough voice she knew very well. Feeling faint and 
weak, and not more than half awake yet, she lay still and 
listened. She heard the outer door open and shut, and then 
the voice said, 

*' So, mother, you've got my stray sheep here, have you ?" 

" Ay, ay," said the voice of Mrs. Van Brunt," have you 
been looking for her ? how did you know she was here ?" 

" Looking for her ! ay, looking for her ever since sundown. 
She has been missing at the house since some time this fore- 



THE WIDE, WIDE "WORLD. 



155 



noon. I believe her aunt got a bit scared about her ; any 
how I did. She's a queer little chip as ever I see." 

" She's a dear little soul, / know," said his mother ; " you 
needn't say nothin agin her, I aint a going to believe it." 

" No more am I — I'm the best friend she's got, if she only 
knowed it ; but don't you think," said Mr. Van Brunt, laugh- 
ing, I asked her to give me a kiss this forenoon, and if I'd 
been an owl she couldn't ha' been more scared; she went off 
like a streak, and Miss Fortune said she was as mad as she 
could be, and that's the last of her." 

" How did you find her out ?" 

" I met that mischievous Vawse girl, and I made her tell 
me ; she had no mind to at first. It'll be the worse for 
Ellen if she takes to that wicked thing." 

" She won't. Nancy has been taking her a walk, and 
worked it so as to get her into the brook, and then she brought 
her here, just as dripping wet as she could be. I gave her 
something hot and put her to bed, and she'll do, I reckon ; 
but I tell you it gave me queer feelings to see the poor little 
thing just as white as ashes, and all of a tremble, and looking 
so sorrowful too. She's sleeping finely now ; but it aint 
right to see a child's face look so;— it aint right," repeated 
Mr. Van Brunt, thoughtfully. — " You ha'n't had supper, have 
you ?" 

" No, mother, and I must take that young one back. Aint 
she awake yet ?" 

" I'll see directly ; but she aint going home, nor you nei- 
ther, 'Brahm, till you've got your supper ; it would be a sin 
to let her. She shall have a taste of my splitters this very 
night ; I've been makin' them o' purpose for her. So you 
may just take off your hat and sit down." 

" You mean to let her know where to come when she 
wants good things, mother. Well, I won't say splitters aint 
worth waiting for." 

Ellen heard him sit down, and then she guessed from the 
words that passed that Mrs. Van Brunt and her little maid 
were busied in baking the cakes ; she lay quiet. 

" You're a good friend, 'Brahm," began the old lady again, 
" nobody knows that better than me ; but I hope that poor 
little thing has got another one to-day that'll do more for her 
than you can." 



156 



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" What, yourself, mother ? I don't know about that." 
" No, no ; do you think I mean myself ? — there, turn it 
quick, Sally ! — Miss Alice has been here." 
" How ? this evening ?" 

" Just a little before dark, on her gray pony. She came 
in for a minute, and I took her — that'll burn, Sally ! — I took 
her in to see the child while she was asleep, and I told her all 
you told me about her. She didn't say much, but she looked 
at her very sweet, as she always does, and I guess, — there 
— now I'll see after my little sleeper." 

And presently Mrs. Van Brunt came to the bed-side with 
a light, and her arm full of Ellen's dry clothes. Ellen felt as 
if she could have put her arms round her kind old friend and 
hugged her with all her heart ; but it was not her way to 
show her feelings before strangers. She suffered Mrs. Van 
Brunt to dress her in silence, only saying with a sigh, " How 
kind you are to me, ma'am !" to which the old lady replied 
with a kiss, and telling her she mustn't say a word about 
that. 

The kitchen was bright with firelight and candlelight ; the 
tea-table looked beautiful with its piles of white splitters, be- 
sides plenty of other and more substantial things ; and at the 
corner of the hearth sat Mr. Van Brunt. 

" So," said he, smiling, as Ellen came in and took her 
stand at the opposite corner, — " So I drove you away this 
morning ? You aint mad with me yet, I hope." 

Ellen crossed directly over to him, and putting her little 
hand in his great rough one, said, " I'm very much obliged 
to you, Mr. Van Brunt, for taking so much trouble to come 
and look after me." 

She said it with a look of gratitude and trust that pleased 
him very much. 

" Trouble, indeed !" said he, good-humoredly, " I'd take 
twice as much any day for what you wouldn't give me this 
forenoon. But never fear, Miss Ellen, I aint a-going to ask 
you that again." 

He shook the little hand ; and from that time Ellen and 
her rough charioteer were firm friends. 

Mrs. Van Brunt now summoned them to table ; and Ellen 
was well feasted with the splitters, which were a kind of rich 
short-cake baked in irons, very thin and crisp, and then split 



157 



THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



in two and buttered, whence their name. A pleasant meal 
was that. Whatever an epicure might have thought of the 
tea, to Ellen in her famished state it was delicious ; and no 
epicure could have found fault with the cold ham and the 
butter and the cakes ; but far better than all was the spirit 
of kindness that was there. Ellen feasted on that more than 
on anything else. If her host and hostess were not very 
polished, they could not have been outdone in their kind 
care of her and kind attention to her wants. And when the 
supper was at length over, Mrs. Van Brunt declared a little 
color had come back to the pale cheeks. The color came 
back in good earnest a few minutes after, when a great tor- 
toise-shell cat walked into the room. Ellen jumped down 
from her chair, and presently was bestowing the tenderest 
caresses upon pussy, who stretched out her head and purred 
as if she liked them very well. 
. " What a nice cat !" said Ellen. 

" She has five kittens," said Mrs. Van Brunt. 

" Five kittens !" said Ellen. " Oh, may I come some time 
and see them ?" 

" You shall see 'em right away, dear, and come as often 
as you like too. Sally, just take a basket, and go fetch them 
kittens here." 

Upon this, Mr. Van Brunt began to talk about its being 
time to go, if they were going. But his mother insisted tha + . 
Ellen should stay where she was ; she said she was not fit t( 
go home that night, that she oughtn't to walk a step, and 
that ' Brahm' should go and tell Miss Fortune the child was 
safe and well, and would be with her early in the morning. 
Mr. Van Brunt shook his head two or three times, but finally 
agreed, to Ellen's great joy. When he came back, she was 
sitting on the floor before the fire, with all the five kittens in 
her lap, and the old mother cat walking around and over 
her and them. But she looked up with a happier face thar. 
he had ever seen her wear, and told him she was " so much 
obliged to him for taking such a long walk for her ;" and 
Mr. Van Brunt felt that, like his oxen, he could have done 
a great deal more with pleasure. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



It's hardly in a body's pow'r. 
To keep at tunes fiae being sour. 

BtTRNS. 

Before the sim was up the next morning, Mrs. Van Brunt 
came into Ellen's room and aroused her. 

" It's a real shame to wake you up," she said, " when 
you were sleeping so finely ; but 'Brahm wants to be off to 
his work, and won't stay for breakfast. Slept sound, did 
you?" 

" yes, indeed ; as sound as a top," said Ellen, rubbing 
her eyes ; — " 1 am hardly awake yet." 

" I declare it's too bad," said Mrs. Van Brunt, — " but 
there's no help for it. You don't feel no headache, do you, 
nor pain in your bones ?" 

"Xo, ma'am, not a bit of it ; T feel nicely." 

" Ah ! well," said Mrs. Van Brunt, " then your tumble 
into the brook didn't do you any mischief ; I thought it 
wouldn't. Poor little soul !" 

" I am very glad I did fall in," said Ellen, " for if I 
hadn't I shouldn't have come here, Mrs. Van Brunt." 

The old lady instantly kissed her. 

" ! mayn't I just take one look at the kitties ?" said 
Ellen, when she was ready to go. 

"Indeed you shall," said Mrs. Van Brunt, "if 'Brahm's 
hurry was ever so much ; — and it aint, besides. Come here, 
dear." 

She took Ellen back to a waste lumber-room, where in a 
corner, on some old pieces of carpet, lay pussy and her family. 
How fondly Ellen's hand was passed over each little soft 
back ! how hard it was for her to leave them ! 

" Wouldn't you like to take one home with you, dear?" 
said Mrs. Van Brunt, at length. 



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159 



1 may I ?" said Ellen, looking up in delight ; " are you 
in earnest ? 0, thank you, dear Mrs, Van Brunt ! 0, I shall 
be so glad !" 

" Well, choose one then, dear, — choose the one you like 
best, and 'Brahm shall carry it for you." 

The choice was made, and Mrs. Van Brunt and Ellen 
returned to the kitchen, where Mr. Van Brunt had already 
been waiting some time. He shook his head when he saw 
what was in the basket his mother handed to him. 

" That won t do," said he ; "I can't go that, mother. I'll 
undertake to see Miss Ellen safe home, but the cat 'ud be 
more than I eould manage. I think I'd hardly get off with 
a whole skin 'tween the one and t'other." 

" Well, now !" said Mrs. Van Brunt 

Ellen gave a longing look at her little black and white 
favorite, which was uneasily endeavoring t6 find out the 
height of the basket, and mewing at the same time with a 
most ung ratified expression. ■ However, though sadly disap- 
pointed, she submitted with a very good grace to what could 
not be helped. First setting down the little cat out of the 
-basket it seemed to like so ill, and giving it one farewell pat 
and squeeze, she turned to the kind old lady who stood 
watching her, and throwing her arms around her neck, 
silently spoke her gratitude in a hearty hug and kiss. 

" Good-bye, ma'am," said she ; " I may come and see 
them sometime again, and see you, mayn't I ?" 

" Indeed you shall, my darling," said the old woman, 
"just as often as you like; — just as often as you can get 
away. I'll make Brahm bring you home sometimes. 'Brahm, 
you'll bring her, won't you ?" 

"There's two words to that bargain, mother, I can tell 
you ; but if T don't, I'll know the reason on't." 

And away they went. Ellen drew two or three sighs at 
first, but she could not help brightening up soon. It was 
early — not sunrise ; the cool freshness of the air was enough 
to give one new life and spirit ; the sky was fair and bright ; 
and Mr. Van Brunt marched along at a quick pace. En- 
livened by the exercise, Ellen speedily forgot everything 
disagreeable ; and her little head was rilled with pleasant 
fellings. She watched where the silver light in the east fore- 
told the sur's coming. She watched the silver change to 



160 



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gold, till a rich yellow tint was flung over the whole land- 
scape ; and then broke the first rays of light upon the tops 
of the western hills, — the sun was up. It was a new sight 
to Ellen. 

" How beautiful ! 0, how beautiful V she exclaimed. 

" Yes," said Mr. Van Brunt, in his slow way, " it'll be a 
fine day for the field. I guess I'll go with the oxen over to 
that 'ere big meadow." 

"Just look," said Ellen, "how the light comes creeping 
down the side of the mountain, — now it has got to the wood, 
— 0, do look at the tops of the trees ! O ! I wish mamma 
was here." 

Mr. Van Brunt didn't know what to say to this. He 
rather wished so too, for her sake. 

"There," said Ellen, "now the sunshine is on the fence, 
and the road, and everything. I wonder what is the reason 
that the sun shines first upon the top of the mountain, and 
then comes so slowly down the side ; why don't it shine on 
the whole at once ?" 

Mr. Van Brunt shook his head in ignorance. " He guessed 
it always did so," he said. 

"Yes," said Ellen, " I suppose it does, but that's the very 
thing, — I want to know the reason why. And I noticed just 
now, it shone in my face before it touched my hands. Isn't 
it queer ?" 

" Humph ! — there's a great many queer things, if you 
come to that," said Mr. Van Brunt, philosophically. 

But Ellen's head ran on from one thing to another, and 
her next question was not so wide of the subject as her com- 
panion might have thought. 

" Mr. Van Brunt, are there any schools about here ?" 

"Schools?" said the person addressed, "yes — there's 
plenty of schools." 

" Good ones ?" said Ellen. 

" Well, I don't exactly know about thai ; there's Captain 
Conklin's, that had ought to be a good 'un ; he's a regular 
smart man, they say." 

" Whereabouts is that ? said Ellen. 

** His school ? it's a mile or so the other side of my 
house." 

" And how far is it from your house to aunt Fortune's ?" 



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" A good deal better than two mile, but we'll be there 
before long. You aint tired, be you ?" 

" No," said Ellen. But this reminder gave a new turn to 
her thoughts, and her spirits were suddenly checked. Her 
former brisk and springing step changed to so slow and 
lagging a one, that Mr. Van Brunt more than once repeated 
his remark that he saw she was tired. 

If it was that, Ellen grew tired very fast ; she lagged more 
and more as they neared the house, and at last quite fell be- 
hind, and allowed Mr. Van Brunt to go in first. 

Miss Fortune was busy about the breakfast, and as Mr. Van 
Brunt afterwards described it, " looking as if she could have 
bitten off a tenpenny nail," and indeed as if the operation would 
have been rather gratifying than otherwise. She gave them no 
notice at first, bustling to and fro with great energy, but all 
of a sudden she brought up directly in front of Ellen, and 
said, 

" Why didn't you come home last night ?" 
The words were jerked out rather than spoken. 
u I got wet in the brook," said Ellen, " and Mrs. Van Brunt 
was so kind as to keep me." 

" Which way did you go out of the house yesterday ?" 
" Through the front door ?" 
" The front door was locked." 
" I unlocked it." 

u What did you go out that way for ?" 
" I didn't want to come this way." 
" Why not?" 
Ellen hesitated. 

" Why not ?" demanded Miss Fortune still more emphati- 
cally than before. 

" I didn't want to see you, ma'am," said Ellen flushing. 

" If ever you do so again !" said Miss Fortune in a kind of 
cold fury ; " I've a great mind to whip you for this, as ever I 
had to eat." 

The flush faded on Ellen's cheek, and a shiver visibly 
passed over her — not from fear. She stood with downcast 
eyes and compressed lips, a certain instinct of childish dig- 
nity warning her to be silent. Mr. Van Brunt put himself 
in between. 

" Come, come !" said he, " this is getting to be too much 
8* 



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of a good thing. Beat your cream, ma'am, as much as you 
like, or if you want to try your hand on something else you'll 
have to take me first, I promise you." 

" Now don't you meddle, Van Brunt," said the lady 
sharply, " with what aint no business o' yourn." 

" I don't know about that," said Mr. Van Brunt, — " maybe 
it is my business ; but meddle or no meddle, Miss Fortune, it 
is time for me to be in the field ; and if you ha'nt no better 
breakfast for Miss Ellen and me than all this here, we'll just 
go right away hum again ; but there's something in your 
kettle there "that smells uncommonly nice, and I wish you'd 
just let us have it and no more words." 

No more words did Miss Fortune waste on any one that 
morning. She went on with her work and dished up the 
breakfast in silence, and with a face that Ellen did not quite 
understand ; only she thought she had never in her life seen 
one so disagreeable. The meal was a very solemn and un- 
comfortable one. Ellen could scarcely swallow, and her aunt 
was near in the same condition. Mr. Van Brunt and the 
old lady alone despatched their breakfast as usual ; with no 
other attempts at conversation than the common mumbling 
on the part of the latter, which nobody minded, and one or 
two strange grunts from the former, the meaning of which, 
if they had any, nobody tried to find out. 

There was a breach now between Ellen and her aunt that 
neither could make any effort to mend. Miss Fortune did not 
renew the disagreeable conversation that Mr. Van Brunt had 
broken off ; she left Ellen entirely to herself, scarcely speaking 
to her, or seeming to know when she went out or came in. And 
this lasted day after day. Wearily they passed. After one or 
two, Mr. Van Brunt seemed to stand just where he did be- 
fore in Miss Fortune's good graces ; — but not Ellen. To her, 
when others were not by, her face wore constantly something 
of the same cold, hard, disagreeable expression it had put 
on after Mr. Van Brunt's interference, — a look that Ellen 
came to regard with absolute abhorrence. She kept away 
by herself as much as she could ; but she did not know what 
to do with her time, and for want of something better often 
spent it in tears. She went to bed cheerless night after 
night, and arose spiritless morning after morning ; and this 
lasted till Mr. Van Brunt more than once told his mother 



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that " that poor little thing was going wandering about like 
a ghost, and growing thinner and paler every day ; and he 
didn't know what she would come to if she went on so." 

Ellen longed now for a letter with unspeakable longing, — 
but none came; — day after day brought new disappointment, 
each day more hard to bear. Of her only friend, Mr. Van 
Brunt, she saw little; he was much away in the fields during 
the fine weather, and when it rained Ellen herself was 
prisoner at home, whither he never came but at meal times. 
The old grandmother was very much disposed to make much 
of her ; but Ellen shrank, she hardly knew why, from her 
fond caresses, and never found herself alone with her if she 
could help it ; for then she was regularly called to the old 
lady's side and obliged to go through a course of kissing, 
fondling, and praising, she would gladly have escaped. In 
her aunt's presence this was seldom attempted, and never 
permitted to go on. Miss Fortune was sure to pull Ellen 
away and bid her mother " stop that palavering," — avow- 
ing that " it made her sick." Ellen had one faint hope that 
her aunt would think of sending her to school, as she em- 
ployed her in nothing at home, and certainly took small delight 
in her company ; but no hint of the kind dropped from Miss 
Fortune's lips ; and Ellen's longing look for this as well as 
for a word from her mother was daily doomed to be ungrati- 
fied and to grow more keen by delay. 

One pleasure only remained to Ellen in the course of the 
day, and that one she enjoyed with the carefulness of a miser. 
It was seeing the cows milked, morning and evening. For 
this she got up very early and watched till the men came 
for the pails ; and then away she bounded, out of the house 
and to the barnyard. There were the milky mothers, five 
in number, standing about, each in her own corner of the 
yard or cowhouse, waiting to be relieved of their burden of 
milk. They were fine gentle animals, in excellent condition, 
and looking every way happy and comfortable ; nothing living 
under Mr. Van Brunt's care was ever suffered to look other- 
wise. He was always in the barn or barnyard at milking 
time, and under his protection Ellen felt safe and looked on 
at her ease. It was a very pretty scene — at least she thought • 
so. The gentle cows standing quietly to be milked as if they 
enjoyed it, and munching the cud ; and the white streams of 



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milk foaming into the pails ; then there was the interest of 
seeing whether Sam or Johnny would get through first ; and 
how near Jane or Dolly would come to rivalling Streaky's 
fine pailful ; and at last Ellen allowed Mr. Van Brunt to 
teach herself how to milk. She began with trembling, but 
learnt fast enough ; and more than one pailful of milk that 
Miss Fortune strained had been, unknown to her, drawn by 
Ellen's fingers. These minutes in the farmyard were the plea- 
santest in Ellen's day. While they lasted every care was for- 
gotten and her little face was as bright as the morning ; but 
the milking was quickly over, and the cloud gathered on Ellen's 
brow almost as soon as the shadow of the house fell upon it. 

" Where is the post-office, Mr. Van Brunt ?" she asked 
one morning, as she stood watching the sharpening of an 
axe upon the grindstone. The axe was in that gentleman's 
hand, and its edge carefully laid to the whirling-stone, which 
one of the farm-boys was turning. 

" \^here is the post-office ? Why, over to Thirl wall to be 
sure," replied Mr. Van Brunt, glancing up at her from his 
work, — " Faster, Johnny." 

" And how often do the letters come here ?" said Ellen. 

" Take care, Johnny ! — some more water, — mind your busi- 
ness, will you ! — Just as often as I go to fetch 'em, Miss 
Ellen, and no oftener." 

" And how often do you go Mr. Van Brunt ?" 

" Only when I've some other errand Miss Ellen ; my grain 
would never be in the barn if I was running to the post-office 
every other thing, — and for what aint there too. I don't get 
a letter but two or three times a year I s'pose, though I call, 
— I guess, — half a dozen times." 

" Ah but there's one there now, or soon will be, I know, for 
me," said Ellen. " When do you think you'll go again Mr. 
Van Brunt?" 

" Now if I'd ha' knowed that I'd ha' gone to Thiriwall 
yesterday — I was within a mile of it. I don't see as I can 
go this week anyhow in the world; but I'll make some 
errand there the first day I can, Miss Ellen, that you may 
depend on. You sha'n't wait for your letter a bit longer 
than I can help." 

" thank you, Mr. Van Brunt— you' re very kind. Then 
the letters never come except when you go after them ?" 



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" No ; — yes — they do come once in a while by old Mr. 
Swaim, but he ha'n't been here this great while." 
" And who's lie ?" said Ellen. 

" he's a queer old chip that goes round the country on 
all sorts of errands ; he comes along once in a while. That'll 
do, Johnny, — I believe this here tool is as sharp as I have any 
occasion for." 

" What's the use of pouring water upon the grindstone ?'' 
said Ellen ; — " why wouldn't it do as well dry ?" 

" I can't tell, I am sure," replied Mr. Van Brunt, who was 
slowly drawing his thumb over the edge of the axe ; — " your 
questions are a good deal too sharp for me, Miss- Ellen ; I 
only know it would spoil the axe, or the grinstone, or both 
most likely." 

" It's very odd," said Ellen, thoughtfully ; — " I wish I knew 
everything. But, oh dear ! — I am not likely to know any- 
thing," said she, her countenance suddenly changing from its 
pleased inquisitive look to a cloud of disappointment and sor- 
row. Mr. Van Brunt noticed the change. 

" Aint your aunt going to send you to school then ?" said 
he. 

" I don't know," said Ellen sighing ; — " she never speaks 
about it, nor about anything else. But I declare I'll make 
her !" she exclaimed changing again. " I'll go right in and 
ask her, and then she'll have to tell me. I will ! I am tired 
of living so. I'll know what she means to do, and then I can 
tell what 7" must do." 

Mr. Van Brunt, seemingly dubious about the success of 
this line of conduct, stroked his chin and his axe alternately 
two or three times in silence, and finally walked off. Ellen, 
without waiting for her courage to cool, went directly into 
the house. 

Miss Fortune however was not in the kitchen ; to follow 
her into her secret haunts, the dairy, cellar, or lower kitchen, 
was not to be thought of. Ellen waited awhile, but her aunt 
did not come, and the excitement of the moment cooled down. 
She was not quite so ready to enter upon the business as she 
had felt at first ; she had even some qualms about it. 

" But I'll do it," said Ellen to herself ; — " it will be hard 
but I'll do it r 



CHAPTER XIV. 



For my part, he keeps me here rustically 
At home, or, to speak more properly, stays 
Me here at home unkept. 

As You Like It. 

The next morning after breakfast Ellen found the chance 
she rather dreaded than wished for. Mr. Van Brunt had 
gone out ; the old lady had not left her room ; and Miss For- 
tune was quietly seated by the fire, busied with some myste- 
ries of cooking. Like a true coward, Ellen could not make 
up her mind to bolt at once into the thick of the matter, but 
thought to come to it gradually, — always a bad way. 

" What is that, aunt Fortune ?" said she, after she had 
watched her with a beating heart for about five minutes. 

" What is what ?" 

" I mean, what is that you are straining through the col- 
ander into that jar ?" 
" Hop- water." 
" What is it for ?" 

" I'm scalding this meal with it to make turnpikes." 

" Turnpikes !" said Ellen ; — " I thought turnpikes were 
high smooth roads with toll-gates every now and then — 
that's what mamma told me they were." 

"That's all the kind of turnpikes your mamma knew any- 
thing about, I reckon," said Miss Fortune, in a tone that 
conveyed the notion that Mrs. Montgomery's education had 
been very incomplete. " And indeed," she added imme- 
diately after, " if she had made more turnpikes and paid 
fewer tolls it would have been just as well, I'm thinking." 

Ellen felt the tone, if she did not thoroughly understand 
the words. She was silent a moment ; then remembering 
her purpose, she began again. 

" What are these then, aunt Fortune?" 



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" Cakes, child, cakes ! — turnpike cakes — what I raise the 
bread with." 

" What, those little brown cakes I have seen you melt in 
water and mix in the flour when you make bread ?" 

" Mercy on us ! yes ! you've seen hundreds of 'era since 
you've been here if you never saw one before." 

" I never did," said Ellen. " But what are they called 
turnpikes for V* 

" The land knows ! — I don't. For mercy's sake stop ask- 
ing me questions, Ellen ; I don't know what's got into you ; 
you'll drive me crazy." 

" But there's one more question I want to ask very much," 
said Ellen, with her heart beating. 

" Well ask it then quick, and have done, and take yourself 
off. I have other fish to fry than to answer all your questions." 

Miss Fortune however was still quietly seated by the fire 
stirring her meal and hop-water, and Ellen could not be 
quick ; the words stuck in her throat, — came out at last. 

" Aunt Fortune, I wanted to ask you if I may go to 
school." 

- Yes." 

Ellen's heart sprang with a feeling of joy, a little qualified 
by the peculiar dry tone in which the word was uttered. 
" When may I go ?" 
" As soon as you like." 

" O thank you ma'am. To which school shall I go aunt 
Fortune ?" 

" To whichever you like." 

" But I don't know anything about them," said Ellen ; — 
" how can I tell which is best ?" 
Miss Fortune was silent. 

" What schools are there near here ?" said Ellen. 

" There's Captain Conklin's down at the Cross, and Miss 
Emerson's at Thirl wall." 

Ellen hesitated. The name was against her, but neverthe- 
less she concluded on the whole that the lady's school would 
be the pleasantest. 

" Is Miss Emerson any relation of yours ?" she asked. 

« No." 

" I think I should like to go to her school the best. I will 
go there if you will let me, — may I ?" 



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" Yes." 

" And I will begin next Monday, — may I ?" 
" Yes." 

Ellen wished exceedingly that her aunt would speak in 
some other tone of voice ; it was a continual damper to her 
rising hopes. 

" I'll get my books ready," said she, — " and look 'em over 
a little too, I guess. But what will be the best way for me 
to go, aunt Fortune ?" 

" I don't know." 

" I couldn't walk so far, could I ?" 
" You know best." 

" I couldn't I am sure," said Ellen ; — " it's four miles to 
Thirl wall, Mr. Van Brunt said ; that would be too much for 
me to walk twice a day ; and I should be afraid besides." 

A dead silence. 

" But aunt Fortune do please tell me what I am to do. 
How can I know unless you tell me ? What way is there 
that I can go to school ?" 

" It is unfortunate that I don't keep a carriage," said Miss 
Fortune, — "but Mr. Van Brunt can go for you morning and 
evening in the ox-cart, if that will answer. 

" The ox-cart ! But dear me ! it would take him all day, 
aunt Fortune. It takes hours and hours to go and come with 
the oxen ; — Mr. Van Brunt wouldn't have time to do any- 
thing but carry me to school and bring me home." 

" Of course, — but that's of no consequence," said Miss 
Fortune, in the same dry tone. 

"Then I can't go — there's no help fo:- it," said Ellen 
despondingly. " Why didn't you say so before ? When- you 
said yes 1 thought you meant yes." 

She covered her face. Miss Fortune rose with a half smile 
and carried her jar of scalded meal into the pantry. She 
then came back and commenced the operation of washing up 
the breakfast things. 

" Ah if I only had a little ponv," said Ellen, " that would 
carry me there and back, and go trotting about with me 
everywhere, — how nice that would be !" 

" Yes, that would be very nice! And who do you think 
w r ould go trotting about after the pony ? I suppose you 
would leave that to Mr. Van Brunt ; and I should have to go 



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169 



trotting about after you, to pick you up in case you broke 
your neck in some ditch or gulley ; — it would be a very nice 
affair altogether I think." 

Ellen was silent. Her hopes had fallen to the ground, and 
her disappointment was unsoothed by one word of kindness 
or sympathy. With all her old grievances fresh in her mind, 
she sat thinking her aunt was the very most disagreeable per- 
son she had ever had the misfortune to meet with. No amia- 
ble feelings were working within her ; and the cloud on her 
brow was of displeasure and disgust, as well as sadness and 
sorrow. Her aunt saw it. 

" What are you thinking of?" said she, rather sharply. 

" I am thinking," said Ellen, " I am very sorry I cannot 
go to school." 

" Why what do you want to learn so much ? you know 
how to read and write and cipher, don't you?" 

" Read and write and cipher !" said Ellen, — " to be sure I 
do ; but that's nothing ; — that's only the beginning." 

" Well, what do you want to learn besides ?" 

" Oh, a great many things." 

" Well what ?" 

" Oh, a great many things," said Ellen ; — French, and 
Italian, and Latin, and music, and arithmetic, and chymistry, 
and all about animals and plants and insects, — I forget what 
it's called, — and — I can't recollect ; a great many things. 
Every now and then I think of something I want to learn; I 
can't remember them now. But I'm doino^ nothing/' said. 
Ellen sadly, — " learning nothing — I am not studying and 
improving myself as I meant to ; mamma will be disappointed 
when she comes back, and I meant to please her so much !" 

The tears were fast coming ; she put her hand upon her 
eyes to force them back. 

" If you're so tired of being idle," said Miss Fortune, " I'll 
warrant I'll give you something to do ; and something to 
learn too, that you want enough more than all those crinkum- 
crankums ; I wonder what good they'd ever do you ! That's 
the way your mother was brought up I suppose. If she had 
been trained to use her hands and do something useful instead 
of thinking herself above it, maybe she wouldn't have had to 
go to sea for her health just now ; it doesn't do for women 
to be bookworms." 



no 



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" Mamma isn't a bookworm I" said Ellen indignantly ; — " I 
don't know what you mean ; and she never thinks herself 
above being useful ; it's very strange you should say so when 
you don't know anything about her." 

" I know she ha'n't brought you up to know manners, any- 
how," said Miss Fortune. " Look here, I'll give you some- 
thing to do, — just you put those plates and dishes together 
ready for washing, while I am down stairs." 

Ellen obeyed, unwillingly enough. She had neither knowl- 
edge of the business nor any liking for it ; so it is no wonder 
Miss Fortune at her return was not well pleased. 

" But I never did such a thing before," said Ellen. 

" There it is now !" said Miss Fortune. " I wonder where 
your eyes have been every single time that I have done it 
since you have been here. I should think your own sense 
might have told you ! But you're too busy learning of Mr. 
Van Brunt to know what's going on in the house. Is that 
what you call made ready for washing ? Now just have the 
goodness to scrape every plate clean off and put them nicely 
in a pile here ; and turn out the slops out of the tea-cups and 
saucers and set them by themselves. — Well ! what makes you 
handle them so ? are you afraid they'll burn you ?" 

" I don't like to take hold of things people have drunk out 
of," said Ellen, who was indeed touching the cups and 
saucers very delicately with the tips of her fingers. 

"Look here," said Miss Fortune, — "don't you let me hear 
no more of that, or I vow I'll give you something to do you 
won't like. Now put the spoons here, and the knives and 
forks together here ; and carry the salt-cellar and the pepper- 
box and the butter and the sugar into the buttery." 

" I don't know where to put them," said Ellen. 

"Come along then, and I'll show you; it's time you did. 
I reckon you'll feel better when you've something to do, and 
you shall have plenty. There — put them in that cupboard, 
and set the butter up here, and put the bread in this box, do 
you see ? now don't let me have to show you twice over." 

This was Ellen's first introduction to the buttery ; she 
had never dared to go in there before. It was a long light 
closet or pantry, lined on the left side, and at the further end, 
with wide shelves up to the ceiling. On these shelves stood 
many capacious pans and basins, of tin and earthenware, 



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filled with milk, and most of them coated with superb yellow 
cream. Midway was the window, before which Miss Fortune 
was accustomed to skim her milk ; and at the side of it was 
the mouth of a wooden pipe, or covered trough, which con- 
veyed the refuse milk down to an enormous hogshead stand- 
ing at the lower kitchen* door, whence it was drawn as 
wanted for the use of the pigs. Beyond the window in the 
buttery, and on the higher shelves, were rows of yellow 
cheeses ; forty or fifty were there at least. On the right 
hand of the door was the cupboard, and a short range of 
shelves, which held in ordinary all sorts of matters for the 
table, both dishes and eatables. Floor and shelves were well 
painted with thick yellow paint, hard and shining, and clean 
as could be ; and there was a faint pleasant smell of dairy 
things. 

Ellen did not find out all this at once, but in the course 
of a day or two, during which her visits to the buttery were 
many. Miss Fortune kept her word, and found her plenty 
to do ; Ellen's life soon became a pretty busy one. She did 
not like this at all ; it was a kind of work she had no love 
for ; yet no doubt it was a good exchange for the miserable 
moping life she had lately led. Anything was better than 
that. One concern, however, lay upon poor Ellen's mind 
with pressing weight, — her ueglected studies and wasted 
time ; for no better than wasted she counted it. " What 
shall I do?" she said to herself, after several of these busy 
days had passed ; " I am doing nothing — I am learning- 
nothing — L shall forget all I have learnt, directly. At this 
rate I shall not know any more than all these people around 
me; and what will mamma- say? — Well, if i can't go to 
school I know what 1 will do," she said, taking a sudden 
resolve, " I'll study by myself ! I'll see what I can do ; it 
will be better than nothing, any way. I'll begin this very 
day!" 

With new life Ellen sprang up stairs to her room, and 
forthwith began pulling all the things out of her trunk to f*et 
at her books. They were at the very bottom ; and by the 
time she had reached them half the floor was strewn with the 
various articles of her wardrobe ; without minding them in 
her first eagerness, Ellen pounced at the books. 

" Here you are, my dear Numa Pompilius," said she, 



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drawing out a little French book she had just begun to read, 
" and here you are, old grammar and dictionary, — and here is 
my history, — very glad to see you, Mr. Goldsmith ! — and what 
in the world's this ? — wrapped up as if it was something 
great, — 0, my expositor ; I am not glad to see you, I am 
sure ; never want to look at your face, or your back again. 
My copy-book — I wonder who'll set copies for me now ; — 
my arithmetic, that's jou! — geography and atlas — all right ; 
— and my slate ; but dear me ! I don't believe I've such a 
thing as a slate-pencil in the world ; where shall I get one, 
I wonder ? — well, I'll manage. And that's all, — that's all, 
I believe." 

With all her heart Ellen would have begun her studying 
at once,, but there were all her things on the floor, silently 
saying, " Put us up first." 

"I declare," said she to herself, "it's too bad to have 
nothing in the shape of a bureau to keep one's clothes in. I 
wonder if I am to live in a trunk, as mamma says, all the 
time I am here, and have to go down to the bottom of it 
every time I want a pocket-handkerchief or a pair of stock- 
ings. How I do despise those gray stockings ! — But what 
can I do ? it's too bad to squeeze my nice things up so. I 
wonder what is behind those doors. I'll find out, I know, 
before long." 

On the north side of Ellen's room were three doors. She 
had never opened them, but now took it into her head to see 
what was there, thinking she might possibly find what would 
help her out of her difficulty. She had some little fear of 
meddling with anything in her aunt's domain ; so she fas- 
tened her own door, to guard against interruption while she 
was busied in making discoveries. 

At the foot of her bed, in the corner, was one large door 
fastened by a button, as indeed they were all. This opened, 
she found, upon a flight of stairs, leading as she supposed to 
the garret, but Ellen did not care to go up and see. They 
were lighted by half of a large window, across the middle of 
which the the stairs went up. She quickly shut that door, 
and opened the next, a little one. Here she found a tiny 
closet under the stairs, lighted by the other half of the win- 
dow. There was nothing in it but a broad low shelf or step 
under the stairs, where Ellen presently decided she could 



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stow away her books very nicely. " It only wants a little 
brushing out," said Ellen, " and it will do very well." The 
other door, in the other corner, admitted her to a large light 
closet, perfectly empty. " Now if there were only some 
hooks or pegs here," thought Ellen, " to hang up dresses on 
— but why shouldn't I drive some nails ? — I will ! I will ! 
0, that'll be fine ! 

Unfastening her door in a hurry she ran down stairs ; and 
her heart beating, between pleasure and the excitement of 
daring so far without her aunt's knowledge, she ran out 
and crossed the chip-yard to the barn, where she had some 
hope of finding Mr. Van Brunt. By the time she got to the 
little cow-house door a great noise of knocking or pounding 
in the barn made her sure he was there, and she went on to 
the lower barn-floor. There he was, he and the two farm 
boys, (who, by-the-by, were grown men) all three threshing 
wheat. Ellen stopped at the door, and for a minute forgot what 
she had come for in the pleasure of looking at them. The 
clean floor was strewn with grain, upon which the heavy flails 
came down one after another, with quick regular beat, — one — 
two — three — one — two — three, — keeping perfect time. The 
pleasant sound could be heard afar off ; though, indeed, 
where Ellen stood it was rather too loud to be pleasant. 
Her little voice had no chance of being heard ; she stood still 
and waited. Presently Johnny who was opposite caught a 
sight of her, and without stopping his work, said to his lead- 
er, " Somebody there for you, Mr. Van Brunt." That gen- 
tleman's flail ceased its motion, then he threw it down, and 
went to the door to help Ellen up the high step. 

" Well," said he, " have you come out to see what's 
going on ?" 

f No," said Ellen, " I've been looking, — but Mr. Van 
Brunt could you be so good as to let me have a hammer and 
half-a-dozen nails ?" 

" A hammer and half-a-dozen nails ; — come this way," 
said he. 

They went out of the barn-yard and across the chip -yard 
to an outhouse below the garden and not far from the spout, 
called the poultry-house ; though it was quite as much the 
property of the hogs, who had a regular sleeping apartment 
there, where corn was always fed out to the fatting ones. 



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Opening a kind of granary store-room, where the corn for 
this purpose was stowed, Mr. Van Brunt took down from a 
shelf a large hammer and a box of nails, and asked Ellen 
what size she wanted. 

" Pretty large." 

"So?" 

" No, a good deal bigger yet I should like." 
" * A good deal bigger yet,' — who Avants 'em ?" 
" I do," said Ellen, smiling. 

" You do ! do you think your little arms can manage that 
big hammer ?" 

" I don't know ; I guess so ; I'll try." 
"Where do you want 'em dri\ r ?" 

" Up in a closet in my room," said Ellen, speaking as soft- 
ly as if she had feared her aunt Avas at the corner ; ** I want 
'em to hang up dresses and things." 

Mr. Van Brunt half smiled, and put up the hammer and 
nails on the shelf again. 

" No ay I'll tell you what Ave'll do," said he ; — " you can't 
manage them big things ; I'll put 'em up for you to-night 
Avhen I come in to supper." 

" But I'm afraid she AA-on't let you," said Ellen doubt- 
fully. 

" Never you mind about that," said he, " I'll fix it. May- 
be Ave won't ask her." 

" thank you !" said Ellen joyfully, her face recovering 
its full sunshine in answer to his smile, and clapping her 
hands she ran back to the house, Avhile more slowly Mr. 
Van Brunt returned to the threshers. Ellen seized dust-pan 
and brush and ran up to her room ; and setting about the 
business with right good will, she soon had her closets in beau- 
tiful order. The books, writing-desk, and Avork-box were 
then bestowed very carefully in the one ; in the other her 
coats and dresses neatly folded up in a pile on the floor, 
waiting till the nails should be driven. Then the remainder 
of her things were gathered up from the floor and neatly ar- 
ranged in the trunk aorain. Having done all this, Ellen's 
satisfaction Avas unbounded. By this time dinner Avas ready. 
As soon after dinner as she could escape from Miss Fortune's 
calls upon her, Ellen stole up to her room and her books, and 
began work in earnest. The whole afternoon was spent over 



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175 



sums and verbs and maps and pages of history. A little 
before tea, as Ellen was setting the table, Mr. Van Brunt 
came into the kitchen with a bag on his back. 

" What have you got there, Mr. Van Brunt?" said Miss 
Fortune. 

"A bag of seed corn." 

" What are you going to do with it ?" 

" Put it up in the garret for safe keeping." 

M Set it down in the corner and I'll take it up to-morrow." 

"Thank you, ma'am, — rather go myself, if it's all the same 
to you. You needn't be scared, I've left my shoes at the 
door. Miss Ellen, I believe I've got to go through your room." 

Ellen was glad to run before to hide her laughter. When 
they reached her room Mr. Van Brunt produced a hammer 
out of the bag, and taking a handful of nails from his pocket, 
put up a fine row of them along her closet wall ; then while 
she hung up her dresses he went on to the garret, and Ellen 
heard him hammering there too. Presently he came down 
and they returned to the kitchen. 

" What's all that knocking ?" said Miss Fortune. 

" I've been driving some nails," said Mr. Van Brunt coolly. 

" Up in the garret ?" 

" Yes, and in Miss Ellen's closet ; she said she wanted some." 

" You should ha' spoke to me about it," said Miss For- 
tune to Ellen. There was displeasure enough in her face ; 
but she said no more, and the matter blew over much better 
than Ellen had feared. 

Ellen steadily pursued her plan of studying, in spite of 
some discouragements. 

A letter written about ten days after gave her mother an 
account of her endeavors and of her success. It was a des- 
pairing account. Ellen complained that she wanted help to 
understand, and lacked time to study ; that her aunt kept 
her busy, and, she believed, took pleasure in breaking her off 
from her books ; and she bitterly said her mother must ex- 
pect to find an ignorant little daughter when she come home. 
It ended with, u 0, if I could just see you, and kiss you, and 
put my arms round you, mamma, I'd be willing to die !" 

This letter was despatched the next morning by Mr. Van 
Brunt ; and Ellen waited and watched with great anxiety for 
his return from Thirlwall in the afternoon. 



CHAPTER XV. 



An ant dropped into the water ; a wood- pigeon took pity of her and threw her a little 
bongh. — L'Estranoe. 

The afternoon was already half spent when Mr. Van 
Brunt's ox-cart was seen returning. Ellen was standing by 
the little gate that opened on the chip-yard ; and with her 
heart beating anxiously she watched the slow-coming oxen ; — 
how slowly they came ! At last they turned out of the lane 
and drew the cart up the ascent ; and stopping beneath the 
apple-tree Mr. Van Brunt leisurely got down, and flinging 
back his whip came to the gate. But the little face that 
met him there, quivering with hope and fear, made his own 
quite sober. " I'm really very sorry, Miss Ellen, — " he 
began. 

That was enough. Ellen waited to hear no more, but 
turned away, the cold chill of disappointment coming over 
her heart. She had borne the former delays pretty well, but 
this was one too many, and she felt siek. She went round 
to the front stoop, where scarcely ever anybody came, and 
sitting down on the steps wept sadly and despairingly. 

It might have been half an hour or more after, that the 
kitchen door slowly opened and Ellen came in. Wishing her 
aunt should not see her swollen eyes, she was going quietly 
through to her own room when Miss Fortune called her. 
Ellen stopped. Miss Fortune was sitting before the fire with 
an open letter lying in her lap and another in her hand. 
The latter she held out to Ellen, saying, " Here child, come 
and take this." 

"What is it ?" said Ellen, slowly coming towards her. 

" Don't you see what it is ?" said Miss Fortune, still hold- 
ing it out. 

" But who is it from ?" said Ellen. 



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177 



" Your mother." 

"A letter from mamma, and not to me !" said Ellen with 
changing color. She took it quick from her aunt's hand. 
But her color changed more as her eye fell upon the first 
words, "My dear Ellen," and turning the paper she saw 
upon the back, " Miss Ellen Montgomery." Her next look 
was to her aunt's face, with her eye fired and her cheek 
paled with anger, and when she spoke her voice was not the 
same. 

" This is my letter," she said trembling ; — " who opened 
it?" 

Miss Fortune's conscience must have troubled her a little, 
for her eye wavered uneasily. Only for a second though. 

"Who opened it?" she answered; "/opened it. I 
should like to know who has a better right. And I shall 
open every one that comes, to serve you for looking so ; — 
that you may depend upon." 

The look and the words and the injury together, fairly 
put Ellen beside herself. She dashed the letter to the 
ground, and livid and trembling with various feelings — rage 
was not the only one, — she ran from her aunt's presence. She 
did not shed any tears now ; she could not ; they were abso- 
lutely burnt up by passion. She walked, her room with 
trembling steps, clasping and wringing her hands now and 
then, wildly thinking what could she do to get out of this 
dreadful state of things, and unable to see anything but 
misery before her. She walked for she could not sit down ; 
but presently she felt that she could not breathe the air of 
the house ; and taking her bonnet she went down, passed 
through the kitchen and went out. Miss Fortune asked 
where she was going, and bade her stay within doors, but 
Ellen paid no attention to her. 

She stood still a moment outside of the little gate. She 
might have stood long to look. The mellow light of an In- 
dian-summer afternoon lay upon the meadow and the old 
barn and chip-yard ; there was beauty in them all under its 
smile. Not a breath was stirring. The rays of the sun 
struggled through a blue haze, which hung upon the hills 
and softened every distant object ; and the silence of nature 
all around was absolute, made more noticeable by the far-off 
voic* of somebody, it might be Mr. Van Brunt, calling to his 
9 



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oxen, very far off and not to be seen ; the sound came softly 
to her ear through the stillness. " Peace," was the whisper 
of nature to her troubled child ; but Ellen's heart was in a 
whirl ; she could not hear the whisper. It was a relief how- 
ever to be out of the house and in the sweet open air. Ellen 
breathed more freely, and pausing a moment there, and clasp- 
ing her hands together once more in sorrow, she went down 
the road and out at the gate, and exchanging her quick 
broken step for a slow measured one, she took the way to- 
wards Thirl wall. Little regarding the loveliness which that 
day was upon every slope and roadside, Ellen presently 
quitted the Thirlwall road and half unconsciously turned into 
a path on the left which she had never taken before, — per- 
haps for that reason. It was not much traveled evidently ; 
the grass grew green on both sides and even in the middle 
of the way, though here and there the track of wheels could 
be seen. Ellen did not care about where she was going ; she 
only found it pleasant to walk on and get further from home. 
The road or lane led towards a mountain somewhat to the 
northwest of Miss Fortune's ; the same which Mr. Van Brunt 
had once named to Ellen as " the Nose." After three quar- 
ters of an hour the road began gently to ascend the moun- 
tain, rising towards the north. About one-third of the way 
from the bottom Ellen came to a Tittle footpath on the left 
which allured her by its promise of prettiness, and she for- 
sook the lane for it. The promise was abundantly fulfilled ; 
it was a most lovely wild woodway path ; but withal not a 
little steep and rocky. Ellen began to grow weary. The 
lane went on towards the north ; the path rather led off to- 
wards the southern edge of the mountain, rising all the while ; 
but before she reached that Ellen came to what she thought 
a good resting-place, where the path opened upon a small 
level platform or ledge of the hill. The mountain rose steep 
behind her, and sank very steep immediately before her, leav- 
ing a very superb view of the open country from the north- 
east to the south-east. Carpeted with moss, and furnished 
with fallen stones and pieces of rock, this was a fine resting- 
place for the wayfarer, or loitering place for the lover of nature. 
Ellen seated herself on one of the stones, and looked sadly 
and wearily towards the east, at first very careless of the ex- 
ceeding beauty of what she beheld there. 



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179 



For miles and miles, on every side but the west, lay stretched 
before her a beautifully broken country. The November 
haze hung over it now like a thin veil, giving great sweetness 
and softness to the scene. Far in the distance a range of 
low hills showed like a misty cloud ; near by, at the moun- 
tain's foot, the fields and farm-houses and roads lay a pic- 
tured map. About a mile and a half to the south rose the 
mountain where Nancy Vawse lived, craggy and bare ; but 
the leafless trees and stern jagged rocks were wrapped in the 
haze ; and through this the sun, now near the setting, threw 
his mellowing rays, touching every slope and ridge with a 
rich warm glow. 

Poor Ellen did not heed the picturesque effect of all this, 
yet the sweet influences of nature reached her, and softened 
while they increased her sorrow. She felt her own heart 
sadly out of tune with the peace and loveliness of all she saw. 
Her eye sought those distant hills, — how very far off they 
were ! and yet all that wide tract of country was but a little 
piece of what lay between her and her mother. Her eye 
sought those hills, — but her mind overpassed them and went 
far beyond, over many such a tract, till it reached the loved 
one at last. But oh ! how much between ! I cannot reach 
her ! — she cannot reach me !" thought poor Ellen. Her eyes 
had been filling and dropping tears for some time, but now 
came the rush of the pent-up storm, and the floods of grief 
were kept back no longer. 

When once fairly excited, Ellen's passions were always ex- 
treme. During the former peaceful and happy part of her 
life the occasions of such excitement had been very rare. Of 
late unhappily they had occurred much oftener. Many were 
the bitter fits of tears she had known within a few weeks. 
But now it seemed as if all the scattered causes of sorrow 
that had wrought those tears were gathered together and 
pressing upon her at once ; and that the burden would crush 
her to the earth. To the earth it brought her literally. She 
slid from her seat at first, and embracing the stone on 
which she had sat, she leaned her head there ; but presently 
in her agony quitting her hold of that, she cast herself down 
upon the mess, lying at full length upon the cold ground, 
which seemed to her childish fancy the best friend she had 
left. But Ellen was wrought up to the last pitch of grief 



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and passion. Tears brought no relief. Convulsive weeping 
only exhausted her. In the extremity of her distress and 
despair, and in that lonely place, out of hearing of every 
one, she sobbed aloud, and even screamed, for almost the 
first time in her life ; and these fits of violence were succeed- 
ed by exhaustion, during which she ceased to shed tears and 
lay quite still, drawing only long sobbing sighs now and 
then. 

How long Ellen had lain there, or how long this would 
have gone on before her strength had been quite worn out, 
no one can tell. In one of these fits of forced quiet, when 
she lay as still as the rocks around her, she heard a voice 
close by say, " What is the matter, my child ?" 

The silver sweetness of the tone came singularly upon the 
tempest in Ellen's mind. She got up hastily, and brushing 
away the tears from her dimmed eyes, she saw a young lady 
standing there, and a face whose sweetness well matched the 
voice looking upon her with grave concern. She stood mo- 
tionless and silent. 

"What is the matter, my dear?" 

The tone found Ellen's heart and brought the water to her 
eyes again, though with a difference. She covered her face 
with her hands. But gentle hands were placed upon hers 
and drew them away ; and the lady sitting down on Ellen's 
stone, took her in her arms ; and Ellen hid her face in the 
bosom of a better friend than the cold earth had been like 
to prove her. But the change overcame her ; and the soft 
whisper, " Don't cry any more," made it impossible to stop 
crying. Nothing further was said for some time ; the lady 
waited till Ellen grew calmer. When she saw her able to 
answer, she said gently, 

" What does all this mean, my child ? What troubles 
you ? Tell me, and I think we can find a way to mend mat- 
ters." 

Ellen answered the tone of voice with a faint smile, but the 
words with another gush of tears. 

" You are Ellen Montgomery, aren't you ?" 
" Yes ma'am." 

" I thought so. This isn't the first time I have seen you ; 
I have seen you once before." 
Ellen looked up surprised. 



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181 



" Have you ma'am ? — I am sure I have never seen you." 

" No, I know that. I saw you when you didn't see me. 
Where, do you think ?" 

" I can't tell, I am sure," said Ellen, — " I can't guess ; I 
haven't seen you at aunt Fortune's, and I haven't been any- 
where else." 

" You have forgotten," said the lady. "Did you never 
hear of a little girl who went to take a walk once upon a 
time, and had an unlucky fall into a brook ? — and then went 
to a kind old lady's house where she was dried and put to 
bed and went to sleep." 

" yes," said Ellen. " Did you see me there ma'am, and 
when I was asleep ?" 

" I saw you there when you were asleep ; and Mrs. Van 
Brunt told me who you were and where you lived ; and when 
I came here a little while ago I knew you again very soon. 
And I knew what the matter was too, pretty well ; but never- 
theless tell me all about it Ellen ; perhaps I can help you." 

Ellen shook her head dejectedly. " Nobody in this world 
can help me," she said. 

" Then there's one in heaven that can," said the lady 
steadily. " Nothing is too bad for him to mend. Have you 
asked his help, Ellen ?" 

Ellen began to weep again. " Oh, if I could I would tell 
you all about it, ma'am," she said ; " but there are so many 
things, I don't know where to begin, I don't know when I 
should ever get through." 

" So many tilings that trouble you, Ellen ?" 

" Yes, ma'am." 

"I am sorry for that indeed. But never mind, dear, tell 
me what they are. Begin with the worst, and if I haven't 
time to hear them all now I'll find time another day. Begin 
with the worst." 

But she waited in vain for an answer, and became dis- 
tressed herself at Ellen's distress, which was extreme. 

" Don't cry so, my child, — don't cry so," she said, press- 
ing her in her arms. " What is the matter ? hardly anything 
in this world is so bad it can't be mended. 1 think 1 know 
what troubles you so — it is that your dear mother is away 
from you, isn't it?" 

" Oh no, ma'am !" — Ellen could scarcely articulate. But 



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struggling with herself for a minute or two, she then spoke 
again and more clearly. 

" The worst is, — oh the worst is — that I meant — I meant — 
to be a good child, and I have been worse than ever I was 
in my life before." 

Her tears gushed forth. 

" 13 ut how, Ellen V said her surprised friend after a pause. 
" I don't quite understand you. When did you ' mean to be 
a good child ?' Didn't you always mean so ? and what have 
you been doing ?" 

Ellen made a great effort and ceased crying ; straightened 
herself ; dashed away her tears as if determined to shed no 
more ; and presently spoke calmly, though a choking sob 
every now and then threatened to interrupt her. 

" I will tell you, ma'am. That first day I left mamma — 
when I was on board the steamboat and feeling as badly as I 
could feel, a kind, kind gentleman, I don't know who he was, 
came to me and spoke to me, and took care of me the whole 
day. 0, if I could see him again ! He talked to me a great 
deal ; he wanted me to be a Christian ; he wanted me to 
make up my mind to begin that day to be one ; and ma'am, 
I did. I did resolve with my whole heart, and I thought 1 
should be different from that time from what I had ever 
been before. But I think I have never been so bad in my 
life as I have been since then. Instead of feeling right I 
have felt wrong all the time, almost, — and I can't help it. 
I have been passionate and cross, and bad feelings keep com- 
ing, and 1 know it's wrong, and it makes me miserable. 
And yet, oh ! ma'am, I haven't changed my mind a bit, — 
I think just the same as I did that day ; I want to be a 
Christian more than anything else in the world, but I am 
not, — and what shall I do !" 

Her face sank in her hands again. 

" And this is your great trouble ?" said her friend. 

" Yes." 

" Do you remember who said, ' Come unto me all ye that 
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ?' " 
Ellen looked up inquiringly. 

" You are grieved to find yourself so unlike what you 
would be. You wish to be a child of the dear Savior and 
to have your heart filled with his love, and to do what will 



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183 



please him. Dc you ? — Have you gone to him day by day, 
and night by night, and told him so ? — have you begged him 
to give you strength to get the better of your wrong feelings, 
and asked him to change you and make you his child ?" 

" At first I did, ma'am," — said Ellen in a low voice. 

" Not lately ?' 

" No, ma'am ;" in a low tone still and looking down. 
'« Then you have neglected your Bible and prayer for 
some time past ?" 

Ellen hardly uttered, " Yes." 
<< Why, my child ?" 

" I don't know, ma'am," said Ellen weeping, — " that is one 
of the things that made me think myself so very wicked. I 
couldn't like to read my Bible or pray either, though I always 
used to before. My Bible lay down quite at the bottom of 
my trunk, and I even didn't like to raise my things enough 
to see the cover of it. I was so full of bad feelings I didn't 
feel fit to pray or read either." 

" Ah ! that is the way with the wisest of us," said her 
companion ; " how apt we are to shrink most from our Phy- 
sician just when we are in most need of him. But Ellen, 
dear, that isn't right. No hand but his can touch that sick- 
ness you are complaining of. Seek it, love, seek it. He will 
hear and help you, no doubt of it, in every trouble you cany 
simply and humbly to his feet ; — he has promised, you 
know." 

Ellen was weeping very much, but less bitterly than 
before ; the clouds were breaking and light beginning to 
shine through. 

" Shall we pra}^ together now ?" said her companion after 
a few minutes' pause. 

" Oh, if you please, ma'am, do !" Ellen answered through 
her tears. 

And they knelt together there on the moss beside the 
stone, where Ellen's head rested and her friend's folded 
hands were laid. It might have been two children speaking to 
their father, for the simplicity of that prayer ; difference of 
age seemed to be forgotten, and what suited one suited the 
other. It was not without difficulty that the speaker carried 
it calmly through, for Ellen's sobs went nigh to check her 
more than once. When they rose Ellen silently sought her 



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friend's arms again, and laying her face on her shoulder and 
putting both arms round her neck, she wept still, — but 
what different tears ! It was like the gentle rain falling 
through sunshine, after the dark cloud and the thunder 
and the hurricane have passed by. And they kissed each 
other before either of them spoke. 

" You will not forget your Bible and prayer again, Ellen ?" 

" Oh no, ma'am." 

" Then I am sure you will find your causes of trouble 
grow less. I will not hear the rest of them now. In a day 
or two I hope you will be able to give me a very different 
account from what you would have done an hour ago ; but 
besides that it is getting late, and it will not do for us to stay 
too long up here ; you have a good way to go to reach 
home. Will you come and see me to-morrow afternoon ?" 

" Oh yes ma'am, indeed I will ! — if I can ; — and if you 
will tell me where." 

" Instead of turning up this little rocky path you must 
keep straight on in the road, — that's all ; and it's the first 
house you come to. It isn't very far from here. "Where 
were you going on the mountain ?" 

" Nowhere ma'am." 

" Have you been any higher up than this V* 
" No ma'am." 

" Then before we go away I want to show you something. 
I'll take you over the Bridge of the Nose ; it isn't but a step 
or two more ; a little rough to be sure, but you mustn't mind 
that." 

" What is the 1 Bridge of the Nose,' ma'am ?" said Ellen, as 
they left her resting-place, and began to toil up the path which 
grew more steep and rocky than ever. 

" You know this mountain is called the Nose. Just here 
it runs out to a very thin sharp edge. We shall come to a 
place presently where you turn a very sharp corner to get 
from one side of the hill to the other ; and my brother named 
it jokingly the Bridge of the Nose." 

" Why do they give the mountain such a queer name ?" 
said Ellen. 

" I don't know, I am sure. The people say that from one 
point of view this side of it looks very like a man's nose ; but 
I never could find it out, and have some doubt about the fact. 



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185 



But now here we are ! Just come round this great rock, — 
mind how you step, Ellen, — now look there !" 

The rock they had just turned was at their backs, and they 
looked towards the west. Both exclaimed at the beauty be- 
fore them. The view was not so extended as the one they 
had left. On the north and south the broken wavy outline 
of mountains closed in the horizon ; but far to the west 
stretched an opening between the hills through which the * 
setting sun sent his long beams, even to their feet. In the 
distance all was a golden haze ; nearer, on the right and left 
the hills were lit up singularly, and there was a most beauti- 
ful mingling of deep hazy shadow and bright glowing moun- 
tain sides and ridges. A glory was upon the valley. Far 
down below at their feet lay a large lake gleaming in the sun- 
light ; and at the upper end of it a village of some size 
showed like a cluster of white dots. 

" How beautiful !" said the lady again. " Ellen dear, — he 
whose hand raised up those mountains and has painted them 
so gloriously is the very same One who has said, to you and 
to me, ' Ask and it shall be given you.' " 

Ellen looked up ; their eyes met; her answer was in that 
grateful glance. 

The lady sat down and drew Ellen close to her. " Do you 
see that little white village yonder, down at the far end of 
the lake ? that is the village of Carra-carra ; and that is 
Carra-carra lake ; that is where I go to church ; you cannot 
see the little church from here. My father preaches there 
every Sunday morning." 

" You must have a long way to go," said Ellen. 

" Yes — a pretty long way, but it's very pleasant though. 
I mount my little gray pony, and he carries me there in quick 
time, when I will let him. 1 never wish the way shorter. I 
go in all sorts of weathers too, Ellen ; Sharp and I don't mind 
frost and snow." 

« Who is Sharp ?" said Ellen. 

" My pony. An odd name, isn't it. It wasn't of my 
choosing, Ellen, but he deserves it if ever pony did. He's a 
very cunning little fellow. Where do you go, Ellen ? to 
Thirlwall?" 

" To church, ma'am ? — I do'nt go anywhere." 

" Doesn't your aunt go to church ?" 
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" She hasn't since I have been here." 

" What do you do with yourself on Sunday ?" 

" Nothing ma'am ; I don't know what to do with myself 
all the day long. I get tired of being in the house, and 
I go out of doors, and then I get tired of being out of 
doors and come in again. I wanted a kitten dreadfully, 
but Mr. Van Brunt said aunt Fortune would not let me keep 
one. 

" Did you want a kitten to help you keep Sunday, Ellen ?" 
said her friend smiling. 

" Yes I did ma'am," said Ellen, smiling again ; — " I thought 
it would be a great deal of company for me. I got very 
tired of reading all day long, and I had nothing to read but 
the Bible ; and you know ma'am I told you I have been all 
wrong ever since I came here, and I didn't like to read that 
much." 

" My poor child !" said the lady, — " you have been hardly 
bestead 1 think. What if you Avere to come and spend next 
Sunday with me ? Don't you think I should do instead of a 
kitten r 

" yes ma'am, I am sure of it," said Ellen clinging to 
her. " I'll come gladly if you will let me, — and if aunt 
Fortune will let me ; and I hope she will, for she said last 
Sunday I was the plague of her life." 

" What did you do to make her say so ? ' said her friend 
gravely. 

" Only asked her for some books ma'am." 

"'Well my dear, I see I am getting upon another of your 
troubles, and we haven't time for that now. By your own 
account you have been much in fault yourself; and I trust 
you will find all things mend with your own mending. But 
now there goes the sun ! — and you and I must follow his 
example." 

The lake ceased to gleam, and the houses of the village 
were less plainly to be seen ; still the mountain heads were 
as bright as ever. Gradually the shadows crept up their 
sides while the gray of evening settled deeper and deeper 
upon the valley. 

" There," said Ellen, — " that's just what I was wondering 
at the other morning ; only then the light shone upon the 
top of the mountains first and walked down, and now it leaves 



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the bottom first and walks up. I asked Mr. Van Brunt 
about it and he could not tell me. That's another of my 
troubles, — there's nobody that can tell me anything." 

" Put me in mind of it to-morrow, and I'll try to make you 
understand it," said the lady, "but we must not tarry now. 
I see you are likely to find me work enough Ellen." 

" I'll not ask you a question ma'am, if you don't like it," 
said Ellen earnestly. 

" I do like, I do like," said the other. " I spoke laugh- 
ingly, for I see you will be apt to ask me a good many. As 
many as you please, my dear." 

" Thank you ma'am," said Ellen, as they ran down the 
hill ; " they keep coming into my head all the while." 

It was easier going down than coming up. They soon ar- 
rived at the place where Ellen had left the road to take the 
wood -path." . 

" Here we part," said the lady. " Good night!" 

" Good night, ma'am." 

There was a kiss and a squeeze of the hand, but when 
Ellen would have turned away the lady still held her fast. 

" You are an odd little girl," said she. " I gave you 
liberty to ask me questions." 

" Yes ma'am," said Ellen doubtfully. 

" There is a question you have not asked me that I have 
been expecting. Do you know who I am ?" 

" No ma'am." 

" Don't you want to know ?" 

"Yes ma'am, very much," said Ellen, laughing at her 
friend's look, " but mamma told me never to try to find out 
anything about other people that they didn't wish me to 
know, or that wasn't my business." 

" Well I think this is your business decidedly. Who are 
you going to ask for when you come to see me to-morrow ? 
Will you ask for ' the young lady that lives in this house ?' 
or will you give a description of my nose and eyes and 
inches ?" 

Ellen laughed. 

" My dear Ellen," said the lady changing her tone, " do 
you know you please me very much ? For one person that 
shows herself well-bred in this matter there are a thousand I 
think that ask impertinent questions. I am very glad you are 



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an exception to the common rule. But dear Ellen I am quite 
willing you should know my name — it is Alice Humphreys. 
Now kiss me again and run home ; it is quite, quite time ; 
I have kept you too late. Good night, my dear ! Tell your 
aunt I beg she will allow you to take tea with me to-mor- 
row." 

They parted ; and Ellen hastened homewards, urged by 
the rapidly growing dusk of the evening. She trode the 
green turf with a step lighter and quicker than it had been a 
few hours before, and she regained her home in much less 
time than it had taken her to come from thence to the moun- 
tain. Lights were in the kitchen, and the table set ; but 
though weary and faint she was willing to forego her supper 
rather than meet her aunt just then ; so she stole quietly up 
to her room. She did not forget her friend's advice. She 
had no light ; she could not read ; but Ellen did pray. She 
did carry all her heart-sickness, her w r ants, and her woes, to 
that friend whose ear is always open to hear the cry of those 
who call upon him in truth ; and then, relieved, refreshed, 
almost healed, she went to bed and slept sweetly. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



After long storms and tempests overblowne, 
The sunne at length his ioyous face doth cleare ; 
So whenas fortune all her spight hath showne, 
Some blissfull houres at last must needs appeare ; 
Else should afflicted wights oft-times despeire. 

Faerie Queene. 

Early next morning Ellen awoke with a sense that some- 
thing pleasant had happened. Then the joyful reality darted 
into her mind, and jnmping out of bed she set about her 
morning work with a better heart than she had been able to 
bring to it for many a long day. When she had finished she 
went to the window. She had found out how to keep it 
open now, by means of a big nail stuck in a hole under the 
sash. It was very early, and in the perfect stillness the soft 
gurgle of the little brook came distinctly to her ear. Ellen 
leaned her arms on the window-sill, and tasted the morning 
air ; almost wondering at its sweetness and at the loveliness 
of field and sky and the bright eastern horizon. For days 
and days all had looked dark and sad. 

There were two reasons for the change. In the first place 
Ellen had made up her mind to go straight on in the path of 
duty ; in the second place, she had found a friend. Her 
little heart bounded with delight and swelled with thankful- 
ness at the thought of Alice Humphreys. She was once 
more at peace with herself, and had even some notion of 
being by and by at peace with her aunt; though a sad 
twinge came over her whenever she thought of her mother's 
letter. 

"But there is only one way for me," she thought; "I'll 
do as that dear Miss Humphreys told me — it's good and early, 
and I shall have a fine time before breakfast yet to myself. 



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And I'll get up so every morning and have it ! — that'll be 
the very best plan I can hit upon." 

As she thought this she drew forth her Bible from its place 
at the bottom of her trunk ; and opening it at hazard she 
began to read the 18th chapter of Matthew. Some of it she 
did not quite understand ; but she paused with pleasure at 
the 14th verse. "That means me," she thought. The 21st 
and 22nd verses struck her a good deal, but when she came 
to the last she was almost startled. 

" There it is again !" she said. " That is exactly what 
that gentleman said to me. I thought I was forgiven, but 
how can I be, for I feel I have not forgiven aunt Fortune." 

Laying aside her book, Ellen kneeled down ; but this one 
thought so pressed upon her mind that she could think of 
scarce anything else ; and her prayer this morning was an 
urgent and repeated petition that she might be enabled " from 
her heart " to forgive her aunt Fortune ** all her trespasses." 
Poor Ellen ! she felt it was very hard work. At the very 
minute she was striving to feel at peace with her aunt, one 
grievance after another would start up to remembrance, and 
she knew the feelings that met them were far enough from 
the spirit of forgiveness. In the midst of this she was called 
down. She rose with tears in her eyes, and " what shall I 
do?" in her heart. Bowing her head once more she ear- 
nestly prayed that if she could not yet feel right towards her 
aunt, she might be kept at least from acting or speaking 
wrong. Poor Ellen ! In the heart is the spring of action ; 
and she found it so this morning. 

Her aunt and Mr. Van Brunt were already at the table. 
Ellen took her place in silence, for one look at her aunt's 
face told her that no " good morning " would be accepted. 
Miss Fortune was in a particularly bad humour, owing among 
other things to Mr. Van Brunt's having refused to eat his 
breakfast unless Ellen were called. An unlucky piece of 
kindness. She neither spoke to Ellen nor looked at her ; Mr. 
Van Brunt did what in him lay to make amends. He helped 
her very carefully to the cold pork and potatoes, and handed 
her the well-piled platter of griddle-cakes. 

" Here's the first buckwheats of the season," said he, — 
" and I told Miss Fortune I warn't a going to eat one on 'em 
if you didn't come down to enjoy 'em along with us. 



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191 



Take two — take two ! — you want 'em to keep each other 
hot." 

Ellen's look and smile thanked him, as following his advice 
she covered one generous " buckwheat " with another as 
ample. 

" That's the thing ! Now here's some prime Maple. You 
like 'em I guess, don't you?" 

" I don't know yet — I have never seen any," said Ellen. 

" Never seen buckwheats ! why they're 'most as good as 
my mother's splitters. Buckwheat cakes and maple molasses, 
— that's food fit for a king, / think — when they're good ; 
and Miss Fortune's is always first-rate." 

Miss Fortune did not relent at all at this compliment. 

" What makes you so white this morning ?" Mr. Van 
Brunt presently went on ; — " you aint well, be you ?" 

" Yes," — said Ellen doubtfully, — I'm well — 

" She's as well as I am, Mr. Van Brunt, if you don't go 
and put her up to any notions !" Miss Fortune said in a kind 
of choked voice. 

Mr. Van Brunt hemmed, and said no more to the end of 
breakfast-time. 

Ellen rather dreaded what was to come next, for her aunt's 
look was ominous. In dead silence the things were put 
away, and put up, and in course of washing and drying, 
when Miss Fortune suddenly broke forth. 

" What did you do with yourself yesterday afternoon?" 

" I was up on the mountain," said Ellen. 

" What mountain ?" 

" I believe they call it the * Nose.' " 

" What business had you up there ?" 

" I hadn't any business there." 

" What did you go there for?'' 

" Nothing." 

" Nothing ! — you expect me to believe that ? you call 
yourself a truth-teller, I suppose ?" 

" Mamma used to say I was," said poor Ellen, striving to 
swallow her feelings. 

" Your mother ! — I dare say — mothers always are blind. 
I dare say she took everything you said for gospel !" 

Ellen was silent, from sheer want of words that were pointed 
enough to suit her. 



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" I wish Morgan could have had the gumption to marry 
in his own country ; but he must go running after a Scotch- 
woman ! A Yankee would have brought up his child to be 
worth something. Give me Yankees ! 

Ellen set down the cup she was wiping. 

" You don't know anything about my mother," she said. 
" You oughtn't to speak so — it's not right." 

"Why aint it right, I should like to know?" said Miss 
Fortune ; — " this is a free country, I guess. Our tongues aint 
tied — we're all free here." 

" I wish we were," muttered Ellen;—" I know what I'd 
do." 

" What would you do ?" said Miss Fortune. 
Ellen was silent. Her aunt repeated the question in a 
sharper tone. 

" I oughtn't to say what I was going to," said Ellen ; — 
" I'd rather not. ' 

" I don't care," said Miss Fortune, " you began, and you 
shall finish it. I will hear what it was." 

" I was going to say, if we were all free I would run 
away." 

" Well that is a beautiful, well-behaved speech ! I am 
glad to have heard it. I admire it very much. Now what 
were you doing yesterday up on the Nose ? Please to go on 
wiping. There's a pile ready for you. What were you 
doing yesterday afternoon ?" 

Ellen hesitated. 

" Were you alone or with somebody ?" 

" I was alone part of the time." 

" And who were you with the rest of the time ?" 

" Miss Humphreys." 

" Miss Humphreys ! — what were you doing with her ?" 
"Talking." 

" Did you ever see her before ?" 
" No ma'am." 

" Where did you find her ?" 
" She found me, up on the hill." 
" What were you talking about ?" 
Ellen was silent. 

" What were you taking about ?" repeated Miss Fortune. 
" I had rather not tell." 



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" And I had rather you should tell — so out with it." 

" I was alone with Miss Humphreys," said Ellen ; " and 
it is no matter what we were talking about — it doesn't con- 
cern anybody but her and me." 

" Yes it does, it concerns me," said her aunt, " and I 
choose to know ; — what were you talking about ?" 

Ellen was silent. 

" Will you tell me ?" 

"No," said Ellen, low but resolutely. 

" I vow you're enough to try the patience of Job ! Look 
here," said Miss Fortune, setting down what she had in her 
hands, — " I will know ! I don't care what it was, but you 
shall tell me or I'll find a way to make you. I'll give you 
such a " 

''Stop ! stop !" said Ellen wildly, — "you must not speak 
to me so ! Mamma never did, and you have no right to ! If 
mamma or papa were here you would not dare talk to me 
so." 

The answer to this was a sharp box on the ear from Miss 
Fortune's wet hand. Half stunned, less by the blow than 
the tumult of feeling it roused, Ellen stood a moment, and 
then throwing down her towel she ran out of the room, 
shivering with passion, and brushing off the soapy water left 
on her face as if it had been her aunt's very hand. Violent 
tears burst forth as soon as she reached her own room, — 
tears at first of anger and mortification only ; but conscience 
presently began to whisper, " You are wrong ! you are 
wrong !" — and tears of sorrow mingled with the others. 

" Oh," said Ellen, "why couldn't I keep still! — when I 
had resolved so this morning, why couldn't I be quiet ! — 
But she ought not to have provoked me so dreadfully, — I 
couldn't help it." " You are wrong," said conscience again, 
and her tears flowed faster. And then came back her morn- 
ing trouble — the duty and the difficulty of forgiving. Forgive 
her aunt Fortune ! — with her whole heart in a passion of 
displeasure against her. Alas ! Ellen began to feel and ac- 
knowledge that indeed all was wrong. But what to do? 
There was just one comfort, the visit to Miss Humphreys in 
the afternoon. " She will tell me," thought Ellen ; " she 
will help me. But in the mean while ?" 

Ellen had not much time to think ; her aunt called her 



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down and set her to work. She was very busy till dinner 
time, and very unhappy ; but twenty times in the course of 
the morning did Ellen pause for a moment, and covering her 
face with her hands pray that a heart to forgive might be 
given her. 

As soon as possible after dinner she made her escape to 
her room that she might prepare for her walk. Conscience 
was not quite easy that she was going without the knowledge 
of her aunt. She had debated the question with herself, and 
could not make up her mind to hazard losing her visit. 

So she dressed herself very carefully. One of her dark 
merinos was affectionately put on ; her single pair of white 
stockings ; shoes, ruffle, cape, — Ellen saw that all was fault- 
lessly neat, just as her mother used to have it ; and the nice 
blue hood lay upon the bed ready to be put on the last 
thing, when she heard her aunt's voice calling. 

" Ellen ! — come down and do your ironing — right away, 
now ! the irons are hot." 

For one moment Ellen stood still in dismay ; then slowly 
undressed, dressed again, and went down stairs. 

" Come ! you've been an age," said Miss Fortune ; " now 
make haste ; there aint but a handful ; and I want to mop up." 

Ellen took courage again ; ironed away with right good 
will ; and as there was really but a handful of things she had 
soon done, even to taking off the ironing blanket and putting 
up the irons. In the meantime she had changed her mind as to 
stealing off without leave ; conscience was too strong for her ; 
and though with a beating heart, she told of Miss Humphreys' 
desire and her half engagement. 

" You may go where you like — I am sure I do not care 
what you do with yourself," was Miss Fortune's reply. 

Full of delight at this ungracious permission, Ellen fled up 
stairs, and dressing much quicker than before, was soon on 
her way. 

But at first she went rather sadly. In spite of all her 
good resolves and wishes, everything that day had gone 
wrong ; and Ellen felt that the root of the evil was in her 
own heart. Some tears fell as she walked. Further from 
her aunt's house, however, her spirits began to rise ; her foot 
fell lighter on the greensward. Hope and expectation quick- 
ened her steps ; and when at length she passed the little 



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195 



wood-path it was almost on a run. Not very far beyond 
that her glad eyes saw the house she was in quest of. 

It was a large white house ; not very white either, for its 
last dress of paint had grown old long ago. It stood close 
by the road, and the trees of the wood seemed to throng it 
round on every side. Ellen mounted the few steps that led 
to the front door and knocked ; but as she could only just 
reach the high knocker, she was not likely to alarm anybody 
with the noise she made. After a great many little faint 
raps, which if anybody heard them might easily have been 
mistaken for the attacks of some rat's teeth upon the wain- 
scot, Ellen grew weary of her fruitless toil and of standing on 
tiptoe, and resolved, though doubtfully, to go round the house 
and see if there was any other way of getting in. Turning 
the far corner, she saw a long low out-building or shed, jut- 
ting out from the side of the house. On the further side of 
this Ellen found an elderly woman, standing in front of the 
shed, which was there open and paved, and wringing some 
clothes out of a tub of water. She was a pleasant woman to 
look at, very trim and tidy, and a good-humored eye and 
smile when she saw Ellen. Ellen made up to her and asked 
for Miss Humphreys. 

4< Why where in the world did you come from ?" said 
the woman. " I don't receive company at the back of the 
house." 

'* I knocked at the front door till I was tired," said Ellen, 
smiling in return. 

"Miss Alice must ha' been asleep. Now honey, you have 
come so far round to find me, will you go a little further and 
find Miss Alice ? Just go round this corner and keep straight 
along till you come to the glass door — there you'll find her. 
Stop ! — maybe she's asleep ; I may as well go along with 
you myself." 

She wrung the water from her hands and led the way. 

A little space of green grass stretched in front of the shed, 
and Ellen found it extended all along that side of the house 
like a very narrow law T n ; at the edge of it shot up the high 
forest trees ; nothing between them and the house but the 
smooth grass and a narrow worn footpath. The w r oods were 
now all brown stems, except here and there a superb hem- 
lock and some scattered silvery birches. But the grass was 



196 THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



still green, and the last day of the Indian summer hung its 
soft veil over all ; the foliage of the forest was hardly missed. 
They passed another hall door, opposite the one where Ellen 
had tried her strength and patience upon the knocker; a 
little further on they paused at the glass door. One step led 
to it. Ellen's conductress looked in first through one of the 
panes, and then opening the door motioned her to enter. 

" Here you are, my new acquaintance," said Alice smiling 
and kissing her. " 1 began to think something was the mat- 
ter, you tarried so late. We don't keep fashionable hours in 
the country, you know. But I'm very glad to see you. 
Take off your things and lay them on that settee by the door. 
You see I've a settee for summer and a sofa for winter ; for 
here I am, in this room, at all times of the year ; and a very 
pleasant room I think it, don't you ?" 

" Yes, indeed I do ma'am," said Ellen, pulling off her last 
glove. 

" Ah, but wait till you have taken tea with me half a 
dozen times, and then see if you don't say it is pleasant. 
Nothing can be so pleasant that is quite new. But now come 
here and look out of this window, or door, whichever you 
choose to call it. Do you see what a beautiful view I have 
here ? The wood was just as thick all along as it is on the 
right and left ; I felt half smothered to be so shut in ; so I 
got my brother and Thomas to take axes and go to work 
there ; and many a large tree they cut down for me, till you 
see they opened a way through the woods for the view of that 
beautiful stretch of country. I should grow melancholy if I 
had that wall of trees pressing on my vision all the time ; it 
always comforts me to look off, far away, to those distant 
blue hills." 

" Aren't those the hills I was looking at yesterday ?" said 
Ellen. 

" From up on the mountain ? — the very same ; this is part 
of the very same view, and a noble view it is. Every 
morning, Ellen, the sun rising behind those hills shines in 
through this door and lights up my room ; and in winter he 
looks in at that south window, so I have him all the time. 
To be sure if I want to see him set I must take a walk for it, 
but that isn't unpleasant ; and you know we cannot have 
everything at once." 



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It was a very beautiful extent of woodland, meadow, and 
hill, that was seen picture-fashion through the gap cut in the 
forest ; — the wall of trees on each side serving as a frame to 
shut it in, and the descent of the mountain, from almost the 
edge of the lawn, being very rapid. The opening had been 
skillfully cut ; the effect was remarkable and very fine ; the 
light on the picture being often quite different from that on 
the frame or on the hither side of the frame. 

" Now Ellen," said Alice turning from the window, " take 
a good look at my room. I want you to know it and feel at 
home in it ; for whenever you can run away from your aunt's 
this is your home, — do you understand ?" 

A smile was on each face. Ellen felt that she was under- 
standing it very fast. 

" Here, next the door, you see, is my summer settee ; and 
in summer it very often walks out of doors to accommodate 
people on the grass-plat. I have a great fancy for taking tea 
out of doors Ellen, in warm weather ; and if you do not 
mind a mosquito or two I shall be always happy to have your 
company. That door opens into the hall ; look out and see, 
for I want you to get the geography of the house. — That 
odd-looking, lumbering, painted concern, is my cabinet of 
curiosities. I tried my best to make the carpenter man at 
Thirlwall understand what sort of a thing 1 wanted, and did 
all but show him how to make it ; but as the southerners say, 
* he hasn't made it right no how !' There I keep my dried 
flowers, my minerals, and a very odd collection of curious 
things of all sorts that I am constantly picking up. I'll show 
you them some day Ellen. Have you a fancy for curiosi- 
ties ?" 

" Yes ma'am, I believe so." 

" Believe so ! — not more sure than that ? Are you a lover 
of dead moths, and empty beetle-skins, and butterflies' wings, 
and dry tufts of moss, and curious stones, and pieces of rib- 
bon-grass, and strange bird's nests ? These are some of the 
\hings I used to delight in when I was about as old as you." 

" I don't know ma'am,'' said Ellen. "I never was where 
I could get them." 

" Weren't you ! Poor child ! Then you have been shut 
up to brick walls and paving stones all your life ?" 

" Yes ma'am, all my life." 



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" But now you have seen a little of the country, — don't 
you think you shall like it better ?" 
"Oa great deal better !" 

" Ah that's right. I am sure you will. On that other 
side, you see, is my winter sofa. It's a very comfortable 
resting-place I can tell you Ellen, as I have proved by many 
a sweet nap ; and its old chintz covers are very pleasant to 
me, for I remember them as far back as I remember any- 
thing." 

There was a sigh here ; but Alice passed on and opened a 
door near the end of the sofa. 

" Look in here, Ellen ; this is my bed-room." 
" how lovely !" Ellen exclaimed. 

The carpet covered only the middle of the floor ; the rest 
was painted white. The furniture was common but neat as 
wax. Ample curtains of white dimity clothed the three win- 
dows, and lightly draped the bed. The toilet-table was 
covered with snow-white muslin, and by the toilet-cushion 
stood, late as it was, a glass of flowers. Ellen thought it 
must be a pleasure to sleep there. 

" This," said Alice when they came out, — " between my 
door and the fire-place, is a cupboard. Here be cups and 
saucers, and so forth. In that other corner beyond the fire- 
place you see my flower-stand. Do you love flowers, 
Ellen ?" 

" I love them dearly, Miss Alice." 

" I have some pretty ones out yet, and shall have one or 
two in the winter ; but I can't keep a great many here ; I 
haven't room for them. 1 have hard work to save these from 
frost. There's a beautiful daphne that will be out by-and-by, 
and make the whole house sweet. But here, Ellen, on this 
side between the windows, is my greatest treasure — my pre- 
cious books. All these are mine. — Now my dear it is time to 
introduce you to my most excellent of easy chairs — the best 
things in the room, aren't they ? Put yourself in that — now 
do you feel at home ?" 

" Very much indeed, ma'am," said Ellen laughing, as Alice 
placed her in the deep easy chair. 

There were two things in the room that Alice had not 
mentioned, and while she mended the fire Ellen looked at 
them. One was the portrait of a gentleman, grave and good- 



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199 



looking ; this had very little of her attention. The other was 
the counter-portrait of a lady ; a fine dignified countenance 
that had a charm for Ellen. It hung over the fireplace in an 
excellent light ; and the mild eye and somewhat of a peculiar 
expression about the mouth bore such likeness to Alice, 
though older, that Ellen had no doubt whose it was. 

Alice presently drew a chair close to Ellen's side, and kiss- 
ed her. 

" I trust my child," she said, " that you feel better to- 
day than you did yesterday ?" 

"01 do, ma'am, — a great deal better," Ellen answered. 

" Then I hope the reason is that you have returned to your 
duty, and are resolved, not to be a Christian by-and-by, but 
to lead a Christian's life now ?" 

" I have resolved so ma'am, — I did resolve so last night 
and this morning, — but yet I have been doing nothing but 
wrong all to-day." 

Alice was silent. Ellen's lips quivered for a moment, and 
then she went on, 

" ma'am, how I have wanted to see you to-day to tell 
me what I should do ! I resolved and resolved this morning, 
and then as soon as I got down stairs 1 began to have bad 
feelings towards aunt Fortune, and I have been full of bad 
feelings all day ; and I couldn't help it." 

" It will not do to say that we cannot help what is wrong, 
Ellen. — What is the reason that you have bad feelings to- 
wards your aunt ?" 

" She don't like me, ma'am." 

" But how happens that Ellen ? I am afraid you don't 
like her.'" 

" No ma'am, I don't to be sure ; how can I ?" 
" Why cannot you, Ellen ?" 

"01 can't ma'am ! I wish I could. But oh, ma'am, I 
should have liked her — I might have liked her, if she had 
been kind, but she never has. Even that first night I came 
she never kissed me, nor said she was glad to see me." 

" That Avas failing in kindness certainly, but is she unkind 
to you, Ellen?'' 

" yes ma'am, indeed she is. She talks to me, and talks 
to me, in a way that almost drives me out of my wits ; and to- 
day she even struck me ! She has no right to do it," said 



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Ellen, firing with passion, — " she has no right to ! — and she 
has no right to talk as she does about mamma. She did it 
to-day, and she has done it before ; — I can't bear it ! — and I 
can't bear her ! I can't bear her !" 

" Hush, hush," said Alice, drawing the excited child to 
her arms, for Ellen had risen from her seat ; — " you must not 
talk so Ellen ; — you are not feeling right now." 

" No ma'am, I am not," said Ellen coldly and sadly. She 
sat a moment, and then turning to her companion put both 
arms round her neck, and hid her face on her shoulder again ; 
and without raising it she gave her the history of the morning. 

" What has brought about this dreadful state of things ?" 
said Alice after a few minutes. " Whose fault is it, Ellen ?" 

" I think it is aunt Fortune's fault," said Ellen raising her 
head ; " I don't think it is mine. If she had behaved well 
to me I should have behaved well to her. I meant to, I am 
sure " 

" Do you me til to say you do not think you have been in 
fau 1 £ at all in the matter ?" 

" No ma'am — I do not mean to say that. I have been 
very much in fault — very often — I know that. I get very 
angry and vexed, and sometimes I say nothing, but some- 
times I get out of all patience and say things I ought not. I 
did so to-day ; but it is so very hard to keep still when I am 
in such a passion ; — and now I have got to feel so towards 
aunt Fortune that I don't like the sight of her ; I hate "the 
very look of her bonnet hanging up on the wall. I know it 
isn't right ; and it makes me miserable ; and I can't help it, 
for I grow worse and worse every day ; — and what shall I 

do r 

Ellen's tears came faster than her words. 

" Ellen my child," -said Alice after a while, — " there is but 
one way. You know what I said to you yesterday ?" 

" I know it, but dear Miss Alice, in my reading this morn- 
ing I came to that verse that speaks about not being forgiven 
if we do not forgive others ; and oh ! how it troubles me ; 
for J can't feel that I forgive aunt Fortune ; I feel vexed 
whenever the thought of her comes into my head ; and how 
can I behave right to her while I feel so ?" 

*\ You are right there, my dear ; you cannot indeed ; the 
heart must be set right before the life can be." 



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" But what shall I do to set it right ?" 
« Pray." 

" Dear Miss Alice I have been praying all this morning 
that I might forgive aunt Fortune, and yet I cannot do it." 

" Pray still, my dear," said Alice, pressing her closer in 
her arms, — pray still ; if you are in earnest the answer will 
come. But there is something else you can do, and must do, 
Ellen, besides praying, or praying may be in vain." 

" What do you mean, Miss Alice ?" 

" You acknowledge yourself in fault — have you made all 
the amends you can ? Have you, as soon as you have seen 
yourself in the wrong, gone to your aunt Fortune and 
acknowledged it, and humbly asked her pardon ?" 

Ellen answered " no" in a low voice. 

" Then my child your duty is plain before you. The next 
thing after doing wrong is to make all the amends in your 
power ; confess your fault, and ask forgiveness, both of God 
and man. Pride struggles against it, — I see yours does, — 
but my child, ' God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace 
unto the humble.' " 

Ellen burst into tears and cried heartily. 

" Mind your own wrong doings my child, and you will not 
be half so disposed to quarrel with those of other people. 
But Ellen dear, if you will not humble yourself to this you 
must not count upon an answer to your prayer. ' If thou 
bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy 
brother hath aught against thee,' — what then ? — « Leave 
there thy gift before the altar ;' go first and be reconciled to 
thy brother, and then come." 

V But is it so hard to forgive !" sobbed Ellen. 

" Hard ? yes it is hal*d when our hearts are so. But there 
is little love to Christ and no just sense of his love to us in 
the heart that finds it hard. Pride and selfishness make it 
hard ; the heart full of love to the dear Saviour cannot 
lay up offences against itself." 

" I have said quite enough," said Alice after a pause ; 
" you know what you want, my dear Ellen, and what you 
ought to do. I shall leave you for a little while to change 
my dress, for I have been walking and riding all the morning. 
Make a good use of the time while I am gone." 

Ellen did make ^ood use of the time. When Alice re- 
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turned she met her with another face than she had worn all 
that day, humbler and quieter ; and flinging her arms around 
her, she said. 

" I will ask aunt Fortune's forgiveness ; — I feel I can do it 
now." 

" And how about forgiving, Ellen ?" 

" I think God will help me to forgive her," said Ellen ; " I 
have asked him. At any rate I will ask her to forgive me. 
But oh Miss Alice ! what would have become of me without 
you 1" 

" Don't lean upon me, dear Ellen ; remember you have a 
better friend than I always near you ; trust in him ; if I have 
done you any good, don't forget it was he brought me to you 
yesterday afternoon." 

" There's just one thing that troubles me now," said Ellen, 
— " mamma's letter. I am thinking of it all the time ; I feel 
as if I should fly to get it !" 

" We'll see about that. Cannot you ask your aunt for it ?" 

" I don't like to." 

" Take care, Ellen ; there is some pride there yet," 

" Well I will try," said Ellen, " but sometimes, I know, 

she would not give it to me if I were to ask her. But I'll 

try, ifiil can." 

" Well now to change the subject — at what o'clock did you 
dine to-day ?" 

" I don't know ma'am, — at the same time we always do, I 
believe." 

"And that is twelve o'clock, isn't it?" 

" Yes, ma'am, but I was so full of coming here and other 
things that I couldn't eat." 

" Then I suppose you would have no objection to an early 
tea?" 

" No ma'am, — whenever you please," said Ellen laughing. 

" 1 shall please it pretty soon. I have had no dinner at 
all to-day Ellen ; I have been out and about all the morning, 
and had just taken a little nap when you came in. Come 
this way and let me show you some of my housekeeping." 

She led the way across the hall to the room on the oppo- 
site side ; a large, well-appointed, and spotlessly neat kitchen, 
Ellen could not help exclaiming at its pleasantness. 

" Why yes — I think it is. I have been in many a parlor 



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that I do not like as well. Beyond this is a lower kitchen 
where Margery does all her rough work ; nothing comes up 
the steps that lead from that to this but the very nicest and 
daintiest of kitchen matters. Margery, is my father gone to 
Thirlwall ?" 

" No Miss Alice — he's at Carra-carra — Thomas heard him 
say he wouldn't be back early." 

" Well I shall not wait for him. Margery if you will put 
the kittle on and see to the fire, I'll make some of my cakes 
for tea." 

" I'll do it Miss Alice ; it's not good for you to go so long 
without eating." 

Alice now rolled up her sleeves above the elbows, and 
tying a large white apron before her, set about gathering the 
different things she wanted for her work, — to Ellen's great 
amusement. A white moulding-board was placed upon a 
table as white ; and round it soon grouped the pail of tlour. 
the plate of nice yellow butter, the bowl of cream, the sieve, 
tray, and sundry etceteras. And then, first sifting some flour 
into the tray, Alice began to throw in the other things one 
after another and toss the whole about with a carelessness 
that looked as if all would go wrong, but with a confidence 
that seemed to say all was going right. Ellen gazed in 
comical wonderment. 

"Did you think cakes were made without hands ?" said 
Alice, laughing at her look. " You saw me wash mine before 
I began." 

" I'm not thinking of that," said Ellen ; " I am not afraid 
of your hands." 

" Did you never see your mother do this ?" said Alice, 
who was now turning and rolling about the dough upon the 
board in a way that seemed to Ellen curious beyond expres- 
sion. 

" No, never," she said. " Mamma never kept house, and 
I never saw anybody do it." 

" Then your aunt does not let you into the mysteries of 
bread and butter-making ? " 

" Butter-making ! Oh," said Ellen with a sigh, " I have 
enough of that !" 

Alice now applied a smooth wooden roller to the cake, 
with such quickness and skill that the lump forthwith lay 



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spread upon the board in a thin even layer, and she next cut 
it into little round cakes with the edge of a tumbler. Half 
the board was covered with the nice little white things, which 
Ellen declared looked good enough to eat already, and she 
had quite forgotten all possible causes of vexation, past, pre- 
sent, or future, — when suddenly a large gray cat jumped upon 
the table, and coolly walking upon the moulding board planted 
his paw directlv in the middle of one of his mistress's cakes. 

" Take him off— Ellen!" cried Alice— " take him off! 
I can't touch him." 

But Ellen was a little afraid. 

Alice then gently tried to shove puss off with her elbow ; 
but he seemed to think that was very good fun, — purred, 
whisked his great tail over Alice's bare arm, and rubbed his 
head against it, having evidently no notion that he was not 
just where he ought to be. Alice and Ellen were too much 
amused to try any violent method of relief, but Margery 
happily coming in seized puss in both hands and set him on 
the floor. 

" Just look at the print of his paw in that cake," said Ellen. 
" He has set his mark on it certainly. I think it is his now, 
by the right of possession if not the right of discovery." 
" I think he discovered the cakes too," said Ellen laughing. 
" Why yes. He shall have that one baked for his supper. 
" Does he like cakes ?" 

" Indeed he does. He is very particular and delicate 
about his eating, is Captain Parry." 

" Captain Parry !" said Ellen, — " is that his name ?" 

" Yes," said Alice laughing ; " I don't wonder you look 
astonished Ellen. I have had that cat five years, and when 
he was first given me my brother Jack, who was younger 
then than he is now, and had been reading Captain Parry's 
Voyages, gave him that name and would have him called so. 
Oh, Jack !" — said Alice, half laughing and half crying. 

Ellen wondered why. But she went to wash her hands, 
and when her face was again turned to Ellen it was unruffled 
as ever. 

" Margery my cakes are ready," said she, " and Ellen 
and I are ready too." 

* Very well Miss Alice — the kettle is just going to boil ; 
you shall havt? tea in a trice. I'll do some eggs for you." 



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" Something — anything " — said Alice ; " I feel one cannot 
live without eating. Come Ellen, you and I will go and set 
the tea-table." 

Ellen was very happy arranging the cups and saucers and 
other things that Alice handed her from the cupboard ; and 
when a few minutes after the tea and the cakes came in, and 
she and Alice were cosily seated at supper, poor Ellen hardly 
knew herself in such a pleasant state of things. 



CHAPTER XVII. 



The very sooth of it is, that an. ill-habit has the force of an ill-fate. 

L'Estranoi. 

" Ellen dear," said Alice as she poured out Ellen's 
second cup of tea, " have we run through the list of your 
► troubles ?" 

" no Miss Alice, indeed we haven't ; but we have got 
through the worst." 

Is the next one so bad it would spoil our supper ?" 

"No," said Ellen, "it couldn't do that, but it's bad 
enough though ; it's about my not going to school. Miss 
Alice, I promised myself I would learn so much while mamma 
was away, and surprise her when she came back, and instead 
of that f am not learning anything. I don't mean not learn- 
ing anything" said Ellen correcting herself ; — " but I can't 
do much. When I found aunt Fortune wasn't going to send 
me to school I determined 1 would try to study by myself; 
and I have tried ; but I can't get along." 

" Well now don't lay down your knife and fork and look 
so doleful," said Alice smiling ; "this is a matter I can help 
you in. What are you studying ?" 

" Some things I can manage well enough," said Ellen, 
"the easy things; but I cannot understand my arithmetic 
without some one to explain it to me, and French I can do 
nothing at all with, and that is what I wanted to learn most 
of all ; and often I want to ask questions about my history." 

"Suppose," said Alice, "you go on studying by yourself 
as much and as well as you can, and bring your books up to 
me two or three times a week ; I will hear and explain and 
answer questions to your heart's content, unless you should 
be too hard for me. What do you say to that ?" 

Ellen said nothing to it, but the color that rushed to her 
cheeks, — the surprised look of delight, — were answer enough. 



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" It will do then," said Alice ; " and I have no doubt we 
shall untie the knot of those arithmetical problems very soon. 
But Ellen my dear I cannot help you in French, for I do not 
know it myself. What will you do about that ?" 

" I don't know ma'am ; I am sorry." 

** So am I, for your sake. I can help you in Latin, if that 
would be any comfort to you." 

" It wouldn't be much comfort to me," said Ellen laugh- 
ing ; " mamma wanted me to learn Latin but I wanted to 
learn French a great deal more ; I don't care about Latin ex- 
cept to please her." 

" Permit me to ask if you know English ?" 

"0 yes ma'am, I hope so; I knew that a great while 
ago." • 

" Did you ? I am very happy to make your acquaintance 
then, for the number of young ladies who do know English is 
in my opinion remarkably small. Are you sure of the fact 
Ellen ?" 

" Why yes, Miss Alice." 

** Will you undertake to write me a note of two pages that 
shall not have one fault of grammar, nor one word spelt 
wrong, nor anything in it that is not good English ? You may 
take for a subject the history of this afternoon." 

" Yes ma'am, if you wish it. I hope I can write a note that 
long without making mistakes." 

Alice smiled. 

" I will not stop to inquire," she said, " whether that 
long is Latin or French ; but Ellen my dear, it is not Eng- 
lish." 

Ellen blushed a little, though she laughed too. 

" I believe I have got into the way of saying that by hear- 
ing aunt Fortune and Mr. Van Brunt say it ; I don't think I 
ever did before I came here." 

" What are you so anxious to learn French for ?" 

" Mamma knows it, and I have often heard her talk French 
with a great many people ; and papa and I always wanted to 
be able to talk it too ; and mamma wanted me to learn it ; she 
said there were a great many French books I ought to read." 

" That last is true no doubt. Ellen I will make a bargain 
with you, — if you will study English with me I will study 
French with you." 



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" Dear Miss Alice/' said Ellen caressing her, f I'll do it 
without that ; I'll study anything you please." 

" Dear Kllen I believe you would. But I should like to 
know it for my own sake ; we'll study it together ; we shall 
get along nicely I have no doubt ; we can learn to read it at 
least, and that is the main point." 

" But how shall we know what to call the words ?" said 
Ellen doubtfully. 

" That is a grave question," said Alice smiling. " I am 
afraid we should hit upon a style of pronunciation that a 
Frenchman would make nothing of. I have it !" she exclaim- 
ed clapping her hands, — " where there's a will there's a way, 
— it always happens so. Ellen, I have an old friend up on 
the mountain who will give us exactly what we want, unless 
I am greatly mistaken. We'll go and see her ; that is the 
very tiling ! — my old friend Mrs. Vawse." 

" Mrs. Vawse I" repeated Ellen ; — " not the grandmother 
of that Nancy Vawse?" 

" The very same. Her name is not Vawse, the eountry 
people call it so, and I being one of the country people have 
fallen into the way of it ; but her real name is Vosier. She 
was born a Swiss, and brought up in a wealthy French fami- 
ly, as the personal attendant of a young lady to whom she 
became exceedingly attached. This lady finally married an 
American gentleman ; and so great was Mrs. Vawse's love to 
her that she left country and family to follow her here. In 
a few years her mistress died ; she married ; and since that 
time she has been tossed from trouble to trouble ; — a per- 
fect sea of troubles ; — till now she is left like a wreck upon 
this mountain top. A fine wreck she is ! I go to see her 
very often, and next time I will call for you, and we will pro- 
pose our French plan ; nothing will please her better I know. 
By the way Ellen, are you as well versed in the other com- 
mon branches of education as you are in your mother tongue ?" 

" What do you mean, Miss Alice ?" 

" Geography, for instance ; do you know it well ?" 

" Yes, ma'am ; I believe so ; I am sure I have studied it 
till I am sick of it." 

" Can you give me the boundaries of Great Thibet or 
Peru?" 

Ellen hesitated, 



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209 



"I had rather not try," she said, — "I am not sure. I 
can't remember those queer countries in Asia and South 
America half so well as Europe and North America." 

" Do you know anything about the surface of the country 
in Italy or France ; the character and condition of the peo- 
ple ; what kind of climate they have, and what grows there 
most freely ?" 

" Why no, ma'am," said Ellen ; " nobody ever taught 
me that." 

" Would you like to go over the Atlas again, talking about 
all these matters, as well as the mere outlines of the countries 
you have studied before ?" 

" Oh yes, dearly !" exclaimed Ellen. 

" Well, I think we may let Margery have the tea-things. 
But here is Captain's cake." 

" may I give him his supper !" said Ellen. 

" Certainly. You must carve it for him ; you know I told 
you he is very particular. Give him some of the egg too — 
he likes that. Now w T here is the Captain ?" 

Not far off ; for scarcely had Alice opened the door and 
called him once or twice, when with a queer little note of 
answer he came hurriedly trotting in. 

" He generally has his supper in the outer kitchen," said 
Alice, — " but I grant him leave to have it here to-night as a 
particular honor to him and you." 

" How handsome he is ! and how large !" said Ellen. 

" Yes, he is very handsome, and more than that he is very 
sensible, for a cat. Do you see how prettily his paws are 
marked? Jack used to say he had white gloves on." 

" And white boots too," said Ellen. * No, only one leg 
is white ; pussy's boots aren't mates. Is he good-natured ?" 

" Very — if you don't meddle with him." 

" I don't call that being good-natured," said Ellen laugh- 
ing. 

" Nor I ; but truth obliges me to say the Captain does not 
permit anybody to take liberties with him. He is a character, 
Captain Parry. Come out on the lawn Ellen, and we will 
let Margery clear away." 

" What a pleasant face Margery has," said Ellen, as the 
door closed behind them ; " and what a pleasant way she 



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has of speaking. I like to hear her, — the words come out so 
clear, and 1 don't know how, but not like other people.'' 

" You have a quick ear Ellen ; you are very right. 
Margery had lived too long in England before she came 
here to lose her trick of speech afterwards. But Thomas 
speaks as thick as a Yankee, and always did." 

" Then Margery is English ?" said Ellen. 

" To be sure. She came over with us twelve years ago for 
the pure love of my father and mother ; and I believe now she 
looks upon John and me as her own children. I think she 
could scarcely love us more if we were so in truth. Thomas — 
you haven't seen Thomas yet, have you V 

" No." 

" He is an excellent good man in his way, and as faithful as 
the day is long ; but he isn't equal to his wife. Perhaps I am 
partial ; Margery came to America for the love of us, and 
Thomas came for the love of Margery ; there's a difference." 

" But Miss Alice !" — 

" What, Miss Ellen ?" 

" You said Margery came over with you ?" 

" Yes ; is that what makes you look so astonished ?" 

" But then you are English too ?" 

" Well, what of that ? you won't love me the less will you ?" 

" Oh no," said Ellen ; "my own mother came from Scot- 
land, aunt Fortune says." 

*J I am English born, Ellen, but you may count me half 
American if you like, for I have spent rather more than half 
my life here. Come this way Ellen, and I'll show you my 
garden. It is some distance off, but as near as a spot could 
be found fit for it." 

They quitted the house by a little steep path leading down 
the mountain, which in two or three minutes brought them 
to a clear bit of ground. It was not large, but lying very 
prettily among the trees with an open view to the east and 
south-east. On the extreme edge and at the lower end of it 
was fixed a rude bench, well sheltered by the towering forest 
trees. Here Alice and Ellen sat down. 

It was near sunset ; the air cool and sweet ; the evening 
light upon field and sky. 

" How fair it is !" said Alice musingly ; " how fair and 



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211 



lovely ! Look at those long shadows of the mountains, Ellen ; 
and how bright the light is on the far hills. It won't be so 
long. A little while more, and our Indian summer will be 
over ; and then the clouds, the frost, and the wind, and the 
snow. Well, let them come. 

" I wish they wouldn't I am sure," said Ellen. " I am 
sorry enough they are coming." 

" Why ? — all seasons have their pleasures. I am not sorry 
at all ; I like the cold very much." 

f I guess you wouldn't, Miss Alice, if you had to wash 
every morning where I do." 

" Why where is that?" 

*• Down at the spout." 

" At the spout — what is that pray ? 

" The spout of water, ma'am, just down a little way from 
the kitchen door. The water comes in a little long, very long, 
trough from a spring at the back of the pig-field, and at the 
end of the trough, where it pours out, is the spout." 

" Have you no conveniences for washing in your room ?" 

" Not a sign of such a thing ma'am. I have washed at 
the spout ever since I have been here," said Ellen, laughing 
in spite of her vexation. 

" And do the pigs share the water with you ?" 

" The pigs ? no ma'am ; the trough is raised up from 
the ground on little heaps of stones ; they can't get at the 
water, — unless they drink at the spring, and I don't think 
they do that, so many big stones stand around it. 

" Well Ellen, I must say that is rather uncomfortable, even 
without any danger of four-footed society." 

" It isn't so bad just now," said Ellen, " in this warm 
weather, but in that cold time we had a week or two back, 
do you remember Miss Alice? — just before the Indian sum- 
mer began ? — oh, how disagreeable it was ! Early in the 
morning, you know, — the sun scarcely up, and the cold wind 
blowing my hair and my clothes all about ; and then that 
board before the spout, that I have to stand on, is always 
kept wet by the spattering of the water, and it's muddy 
besides and very slippery, — there's a kind of green stuff 
comes upon it ; and 1 can't stoop down for fear of muddying 
myself ; I have to tuck my clothes round me and bend over 
as well as 1 can, and fetch up a litt. * water to my face in 



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the hollow of my hand, and of course I have to do that a 
great many times before I get enough. I can't help laugh- 
ing," said Ellen, " but it isn't a laughing matter for all that." 

" So you wash your face in your hands and have no pitcher 
but a long wooden trough ? — Poor child ! I am sorry for 
you ; I think you must have some other way of managing 
before the snow comes." 

" The water is bitter cold already," said Ellen, it's the 
coldest w T ater I ever saw. Mamma gave me a nice dressing- 
box before I came away, but I found very soon this was a 
queer place for a dressing-box to come to. Why, Miss Alice, 
if I take out my brush or comb I haven't any table to lay 
them on but one that's too high, and my poor dressing-box 
has to stay on the floor. And I haven't a sign of a bureau, 
— all my things are tumbling about in my trunk." 

" I think if I were in your place I would not permit that 
at any rate," said Alice ; " if my things were confined to 
my trunk I would have them keep good order there at least." 

" Well so they do," said Ellen, — "pretty good order; I 
didn't mean ' tumbling about ' exactly." 

" Always try to say what you mean exactly." 

" But now Ellen, love, do you know I must send you 
away ? Do you see the sunlight has quitted those distant 
hills? and it will be quite gone soon. You must hasten 
home." 

Ellen made no answer. Alice had taken her on her lap 
again, and she was nestling there with her friend's arms 
wrapped around her. Both w r ere quite still for a minute. 

" Next week, if nothing happens, we will begin to be busy 
with our books. You shall come to me Tuesday and Friday ; 
and all the other days you must study as hard as you can at 
home, for I am very particular, I forewarn you." 

" But suppose aunt Fortune should not let me come V said 
Ellen without stirring. 

" she will. You need not speak about it ; Ell come 
down and ask her myself, and nobody ever refuses me any- 
thing." 

" I shouldn't think they would," said Ellen. 

" Then don't you set the first example," said Alice laugh- 
ing. " I ask you to be cheerful and happy and grow wiser 
and better every day." 



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213 



"Dear Miss Alice ! — How can I promise that ?" 

" Dear Ellen it is very easy. There is One who has pro- 
mised to hear and answer you when you cry to him ; he will 
make you in his own likeness again ; and to know and love 
him and not be happy, is impossible. That blessed Sa- 
viour !" — said Alice, — oh, what should you and I do with- 
out him Ellen ? — ' as rivers of waters in a dry place ; as the 
shadow of a great rock in a weary land ;' — how beautiful ! 
how true ! how often I think of that." 

Ellen was silent, though entering into the feeling of the 
words. 

" Remember him dear Ellen ; — remember your best friend. 
Learn more of Christ, our dear Saviour, and you can't help 
but be happy. Never fancy you are helpless and friendless 
while you have him to go to. Whenever you feel wearied 
and sorry, flee to the shadow of that great rock ; will you ? — 
and do you understand me ?" 

" Yes ma'am, — yes ma'am," said Ellen, as she lifted her 
lips to kiss her friend. Alice heartily returned the kiss, and 
pressing Ellen in her arms said, 

" Now Ellen, dear, you must go ; I dare not keep you any 
longer. It will be too late now, I fear, before you reach 
home." 

Quick they mounted the little path again, and soon were at 
the house ; and Ellen was putting on her things. 

" Next Tuesday remember, — but before that ! Sunday, — 
you are to spend Sunday with me ; come bright and early." 

" How early ?" 

"0 as early as you please — before breakfast — and our 
Sunday morning breakfasts aren't late, Ellen ; we have to set 
off betimes to go to church." 

Kisses and goodbyes ; and then Ellen was running down 
the road at a great rate, for twilight was beginning to gather, 
and she had a good way to go. 

She ran till out of breath ; then walked awhile to gather 
breath ; then ran again. Running down hill is a pretty quick 
way of traveling ; so before very long she saw her aunt's 
house at a distance. She walked now. She had come all 
the way in good spirits, though with a sense upon her mind 
of something disagreeable to come ; when she saw the house 
this disagreeable something swallowed up all her thoughts, 



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and she walked leisurely on, pondering what she had to do 
and what she was like to meet with in the doing of it. 

" If aunt Fortune should be in a bad humor — and sav 
something to vex me, — but I'll not be vexed. But it will be 
very hard to help it ; — but I will not be vexed ; — I have 
done wrong, and I'll tell her so, and ask her to forgive me ; — 
it will be hard, — but I'll do it — I'll say what I ought to sav, 
and then however she takes it I shall have the comfort of 
knowing I have done right." " But," said conscience, 
" you must not say it stiffly and proudly ; you must say it 
humbly and as if you really felt and meant it." " I will," 
said Ellen. 

She paused in the shed and looked through the window 
to see what was the promise of things within. Not good ; 
her aunt's step sounded heavy and ominous ; Ellen guessed she 
was not in a pleasant state of mind. She opened the door, — 
no doubt of it, — the whole air of Miss Fortune's figure, to 
the very handkerchief that was tied round her head, spoke 
displeasure. 

" She isn't in a good mood," said Ellen, as she went up 
stairs to leave her bonnet and cape there ; — " I never knew 
her to be good-humored when she had that handkerchief on." 

She returned to the kitchen immediately. Her aunt was 
busied in washing and wiping the dishes. 

* I have come home rather late," said Ellen pleasantly ; — 
" shall I help you aunt Fortune ?" 

Her aunt cast a look at her. 

" Yes, you may help me. Go and put on a pair of white 
gloves and a silk apron, and then you'll be ready." 

Ellen looked down at herself. " my merino ! I forgot 
about that. I'll go and change it." 

Miss Fortune said nothing, and Ellen went. 

When she came back the things were all wiped, and as 
she was about to put some of them away, her aunt took 
them out of her hands, bidding her " go and sit down !" 

Ellen obeyed and was mute; while Miss Fortune dashed 
round with a display of energy there seemed to be no par- 
ticular call for, and speedily had everything in its place and 
all straight and square about the kitchen. When she was, 
as a last thing, brushing the crumbs from the floor into the 
61 e she broke the silence again. The old grandmother 



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215 



sat in the chimney corner, but she seldom was very talkative 
in the presence of her stern daughter. 

" What did you come home for to-night ? Why didn't 
you stay at Mr. Humphrey's ?" 

" Miss Alice didn't ask me." 

" That means I suppose that you would if she had ?" 

" I don't know, ma'am ; Miss Alice wouldn't have asked 
me to do anything that wasn't right." 

" no ! — of course not ; — Miss Alice is a piece of perfec- 
tion ; everybody says so ; and I suppose you'd sing the same 
song who haven't seen her three times." 

" Indeed I would," said Ellen ; " I could have told that 
in one seeing. I'd do anything in the world for Miss Alice." 

" Ay — I dare say — that's the way of it. You can show 
not one bit of goodness or pleasantness to the person that 
does the most for you and has all the care of you, — but the 
first stranger that comes along you can be all honey to them, 
and make yourself out too good for common folks, and go 
and tell great tales how you are used at home I suppose. 
I am sick of it !" said Miss Fortune, setting up the andirons 
and throwing the tongs and shovel into the corner in a way 
that made the iron ring again. " One might as good be a 
stepmother at once and done with it ! Come mother, it's 
time for you to go to bed." 

The old lady rose with the meekness of habitual submis- 
sion, and went up stairs with her daughter. Ellen had time 
to bethink herself while they were gone, and resolved to lose 
no time when her aunt came back in doing what she had to 
do. She would fain have persuaded herself to put it off. 
" It is late," she said to herself, " it isn't a good time. It 
will be better to go to bed now and ask aunt Fortune's par- 
don to-morrow." But conscience said, "first be reconciled to 
thy brother." 

Miss Fortune came down stairs presently. But before 
Ellen could get any words out her aunt prevented her. 

" Come, light your candle and be off ; — I want you out of 
the way : I can't do anything with half a dozen people about." 

Ellen rose. " I want to say something to you first, aunt 
Fortune." 

" Say it and be quick ; I haven't time to stand talking." 
" Aunt Fortune," said Ellen stumbling over her words, — 



216 



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" I want to tell you that I know I was wrong this morning, 
and I am sorry, and I hope you'll forgive me.'' 

A kind of indignant laugh escaped from Miss Fortune's 
lips. 

" It's easy talking ; I'd rather have acting. I'd rather see 
people mend their ways than stand and make speeches about 
them. Being sorry don't help the matter much." 

" But I will try not to do so any more," said Ellen. 

" When I see you don't I shall begin to think there is 
something in it. Actions speak louder than words. I don't 
believe in this jumping into goodness ail at once." 

" Well I will try not to, at any rate," said Ellen sighing. 

" I shall be very glad to see it. What has brought you 
into this sudden fit of dutifulness and fine talking ?" 

" Miss Alice told me I ought to ask your pardon for what 
I had done wrong," said Ellen, scarce able to keep from cry- 
ing ; " and I know I did wrong this morning, and I did 
wrong the other day about the letter ; and I am sorry, whe- 
ther you believe it or no.'' 

" Miss Alice told you, did she ? So all this is to please 
Miss Alice. I suppose you were afraid your friend Miss 
Alice would hear of some of your goings on, and thought you 
had better make up with me. Is that it ?" 

Ellen answered, "No ma'am,'' in a low tone, but had no 
voice to say more. 

" I wish Miss Alice would look after her own affairs, and 
let other people's houses alone. That's always the way with 
your pieces of perfection ; — they're eternally finding out 
something that isn't as it ought to be among their neighbors. 
I think people that don't set up for being quite such great 
things get along quite as well in the world." 

Ellen was strongly tempted to reply, but kept her lips shut. 

" I'll tell you what," said Miss Fortune, — " if you want me 
to believe that all thistalk means something I'll tell you what 
you shall do, — you shall just tell Mr. Van Brunt to-morrow 
about it all, and how ugly you have been these two days, and 
let him know you were wrong and I was right. I believe lie 
thinks you cannot do anything wrong, and I should like him 
to know it for once." 

Ellen struggled hard with herself before she could speak ; 
Miss Fortune's lips began to wear a scornful smile. 



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« I'll tell him !" said Ellen at length ; " I'll tell him I 
was wrong, if you wish me to." 

" I do wish it. I like people's eyes to be opened. It'll do 
him good I guess, and you too. Now have you anything more 
to say?" 

Ellen hesitated ; — the color came and went ; — she knew it 
wasn't a good time, but how could she wait ? 

" Aunt Fortune," she said, " you know I told you I be- 
haved very ill about that letter, — won't you forgive me?" 

" Forgive you ? yes, child ; I don't care anything about it." 

" Then will you be so good as to let me have my letter 
again ?" said Ellen timidly. 

''0 I can't be bothered to look for it now ; I'll see about 
it some other time ; take your candle and go to bed now if 
you've nothing more to say." 

Ellen took her candle and went. Some tears were wrung 
from her by hurt feeling and disappointment ; but she had 
the smile of conscience, and as she believed of Him whose 
witness conscience is. She remembered that " great rock in 
a weary land," and she went to sleep in the shadow of it. 

The next day was Saturday. Ellen was up early ; and after 
carefully performing her toilet duties she had a nice long hour 
before it was time to go down stairs. The use she made of 
this hour had fitted her to do cheerfully and well her morning 
work ; and Ellen would have sat down to breakfast in excel- 
lent spirits if it had not been for her promised disclosure to 
Mr. Van Brunt. It vexed her a little. " I told aunt For- 
tune, — that was all right ; but why I should be obliged to 
tell Mr. Van Brunt I don't know. But if it convinces aunt 
Fortune that I am in earnest, and mean what I say ? — then I 
had better." 

Mr. Van Brunt looked uncommonly grave, she thought ; 
her aunt, uncommonly satisfied. Ellen had more than half a 
guess at the reason of both ; but make up her mind to speak 
she could not, during all breakfast time. She eat without 
knowing what she was eating. 

Mr. Van Brunt at length, having finished his meal without 
Baying a syllable, arose and was about to go forth, when Miss 
Fortune stopped him. " Wait a minute Mr. Van Brunt," she 
said, " Ellen has something to say to you. Go ahead, 



■v 

218 THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



Ellen felt rather than saw the smile with which these words 
were spoken. She crimsoned and hesitated. 

" Ellen and I had some trouble yesterday," said Miss For- 
tune, " and she wants to tell you about it." 

Mr. Van Brunt stood gravely waiting. 

Ellen raised her eyes, which were full, to his face. " Mr. 
Van Brunt," she said, " aunt Fortune wants me to tell you 
what I told her last night, — that I know I behaved as I 
ought not to her yesterday, and the day before, and other 
times." 

" And what made you do that ?" said Mr. Van Brunt. 

" Tell him," said Miss Fortune coloring, " that you were 
in the wrong and I was in the right — then he'll believe it I 
suppose." 

" I was wrong," said Ellen. 

" And I was right," — said Miss Fortune. 

Ellen was silent. Mr. Van Brunt looked from one to the 
other. 

" Speak," said Miss Fortune ; " tell him the whole if you 
mean what you say." 
" I can't," said Ellen. 

" Why you said you were wrong," said Miss Fortune, 
" that's only half of the business ; if you were wrong I was 
right ; why don't you say so, and not make such a shilly- 
shally piece of work of it ?" 

" 1 said I was wrong," said Ellen, " and so I was ; but I 
never said you were right aunt Fortune, and I don't think so." 

These words though moderately spoken were enough to 
put Miss Fortune in a rage. 

" What did I do that was wrong ?" she said ; " come, I 
should like to know. What was it Ellen ? Out with it ; say 
everything you can think of ; stop and hear it Mr. Van 
Brunt ; come Ellen ; let's hear the whole !" 

" Thank you ma'am, Eve heerd quite enough," said that 
gentleman, as he went out and closed the door. 

" And I have said too much," said Ellen. " Pray forgive 
me aunt Fortune. I shouldn't have said that if you hadn't 
pressed me so ; I forgot myself a moment. I am sorry I 
said that." 

" Forgot yourself !" said Miss Fortune ; " I wish you'd forget 
yourself out of my house. Please to forget the place where 



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219 



I am for to-day anyhow ; I've got enough of you for one 
while. You had better go to Miss Alice and get a new 
lesson ; and tell her you are coming on finely." 

Gladly would Ellen indeed have gone to Miss Alice, but 
as the next day was Sunday she thought it best to wait. She 
went sorrowfully to her own room. " Why couldn't I be 
quiet ?" said Ellen. " If I had only held my tongue that 
unfortunate minute ! what possessed me to say that ?" 

Strong passion — strong pride, — both long unbroken ; and 
Ellen had yet to learn that many a prayer and many a tear, 
much watchfulness, much help from on high, must be hers 
before she could be thoroughly dispossessed of these evil 
spirits. But she knew her sickness ; she had applied to the 
Physician ; — she was in a fair way to be well. 

One thought in her solitary room that day drew streams 
of tears down Ellen's cheeks. " My letter — my letter ! what 
shall I do to get you !" she said to herself. " It serves me 
right ; I oughtn't to have got in a passion ; oh I have got a 
lesson this time !" 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



Tranquilitie 

So purely sate there, thai waves great nor small 
Did ever rise to any height at all. 

Chapman. 

The Sunday with Alice met all Ellen's hopes. She wrote 
a very long letter to her mother giving the full history of the 
day. How pleasantly they had ridden to church on the 
pretty gray pony, — she half the way and Alice the other 
half, talking to each other all the while ; for Mr. Humphreys 
had ridden on before. How lovely the road was, " winding 
about round the mountain, up and down," and with such a 
wide fair view, and " part of the time close along by the 
edge of the water." This had been Ellen's first ride on 
horseback. Then the letter described the little Carra-carra 
church — Mr. Humphreys' excellent sermon, " every word of 
which she could understand ;" Alice's Sunday School, in 
which she was sole teacher, and how Ellen had four little 
ones put under her care ; and told how while Mr. Humphreys 
went on to hold a second service at a village some six miles 
off, his daughter ministered to two infirm old women at Car- 
ra-carra, — reading and explaining the Bible to the one, and 
to the other, who was blind, repeating the whole substance 
of her father's sermon. " Miss Alice told me that nobody 
could enjoy a sermon better than that old woman, but she 
cannot go out, and every Sunday Miss Alice goes and 
preaches to her, she says." How Ellen went home in the 
boat with Thomas and Margery, and spent the rest of the 
day and the night also at the parsonage ; and how polite and 
kind Mr. Humphreys had been. " He's a very grave-look- 
ing man indeed," said the letter, " and not a bit like Miss 
Alice ; he is a great deal older than I expected." 

This letter was much the longest Ellen had ever written in 



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221 



her life ; but she had set her heart on having her mother's 
sympathy in her new pleasures, though not to be had but 
after the lapse of many weeks and beyond a sad interval of 
land and sea, Still she must have it ; and her little fingers 
traveled busily over the paper hour after hour, as she found 
time, till the long epistle was finished. She was hard at 
work at it Tuesday afternoon when her aunt called her down ; 
and obeying the call, to her great surprise and delight she 
found Alice seated in the chimney corner and chatting away 
with her old grandmother, who looked remarkably pleased. 
Miss Fortune was bustling round as usual, looking at nobody, 
though putting in her word now and then. 

" Come Ellen," said Alice, " get your bonnet ; I am going 
up the mountain to see Mrs. Vawse, and your aunt has given 
leave for you to go with me. Wrap yourself up well, for it 
is not warm." 

Without waiting for a word of answer, Ellen joyfully 
ran off. 

" You have chosen rather an ugly day for your walk, Miss 
Alice." 

" Can't expect pretty days in December Miss Fortune. I 
am only too happy it doesn't storm ; it will by to-morrow, I 
think. But I have learned not to mind weathers." 

* Yes, I know you have," said Miss Fortune. ff You'll 
stop up on the mountain till supper-time I guess, won't you ?" 

" yes ; I shall want something to fortify me before com- 
ing home after such a long tramp. You see I have brought 
a basket along. I thought it safest to take a loaf of bread 
with me, for no one can tell what may be in Mrs. Vawse's cup- 
board, and to lose our supper is not a thing to be thought of." 

* Well, have you looked out for butter too ? for you'll find 
none where you're going. I don't know how the old lady 
lives up there, but it's without butter I reckon." 

" I have taken care of that too, thank you Miss Fortune. 
You see I'm a far-sighted creature." 

" Ellen," said her aunt, as Ellen now, cloaked and hooded, 
came in, " go into the buttery and fetch out one of them 
pumpkin pies to put in Miss Alice's basket." 

"Thank you Miss Fortune," said Alice smiling, "I shall 
tell Mrs. Yawse who it comes from. Now my dear, let's be 
off ; we have a long walk before us." 



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Ellen was quite ready to be off. But no sooner had she 
opened the outer shed door than her voice was heard in as 
tonishment. 

" A cat ! — What cat is this ? Miss Alice ! look here ; — 
here's the Captain I do believe." 

" Here is the Captain indeed," said Alice. " pussy, 
pussy, what have you come for!" 

Pussy walked up to his mistress, and stroking himself and 
his great tail against her dress, seemed to say that he had 
come for her sake, and that it made no difference to hic» 
where she was going. 

" He was sitting as gravely as possible," said Ellen, " on 
the stone just outside the door, waiting for the door to be 
opened. How could he have come here ?" 

" Why he has followed me," said Alice; " he often does ; 
but I came quick and I thought 1 had left him at home to- 
day. This is too long an expedition for him. Kitty — I wish 
you had stayed at home." 

Kitty did not think so ; he was arching his neck and purr- 
ing in acknowledgment of Alice's soft touch. 

" Can't you send him back ?" said Ellen. 

" No my dear ; he is the most sensible of cats no doubt, 
but he could by no means understand such an order. No, 
we must let him trot on after us, and when he gets tired I'll 
carry him ; it won't be the first time by a good many." 

They set off with a quick pace, which the weather forbade 
them to slacken. It was somewhat as Miss Fortune had 
said, an ugly afternoon. The clouds hung cold and gray, 
and the air had a raw chill feeling that betokened a coming 
snow. The wind blew strong too, and seemed to carry the 
dullness through all manner of wrappers. Alice and Ellen 
however did not much care for it ; they walked and ran by 
turns, only stopping once in a while when poor Captain's un- 
easy cry warned them they had left him too far behind. Still 
he would not submit to be carried, but jumped down when- 
ever Alice attempted it, and trotted on most perse veringly. 
As they neared the foot of the mountain they were somewhat 
sheltered from the wind, and could afford to walk more 
slowly. 

" How is it between you and your aunt Fortune now V 
said Alice. 



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223 



" we don't get on well at all Miss Alice, and I don't 
know exactly what to do. You know I said I would ask her 
pardon. Well I did, that same night after I got home, but 
it was very disagreeable. She didn't seem to believe I was 
in earnest, and wanted me to tell Mr. Van Brunt that I had 
been wrong. I thought that was rather hard ; but at any 
rate I said I Avould ; and next morning I did tell him so ; 
and I believe all would have done well if I could only have 
been quiet ; but aunt Fortune said something that vexed me, 
and almost before I knew it I said something that vexed her 
dreadfully. It was nothing very bad, Miss Alice, though I 
ought not to have said it ; and I was sorry two minutes after, 
but I just got provoked ; and wha' «hall I do, for it's so hard 
to prevent it ?" 

"The only thing I know," said Alice with a slight smile, 
2 is to be full of that charity which among other lovely ways 
of showing itself has this, — that it is ' not easily provoked.' " 

" I am easily provoked," said Ellen. 

" Then you know one thing at any rate that is to be watch- 
ed and prayed and guarded against ; it is no little matter to 
be acquainted with one's own weak points." 

" I tried so hard to keep quiet that morning," said Ellen, 
" and if I only could have let that unlucky speech alone — 
but somehow I forgot myself, and I just told her what I 
thought." 

" Which it is very often best not to do." 
" I do believe," said Ellen, " aunt Fortune would like to 
have Mr. Van Brunt not like me." 
" Well," said Alice,—" what then ?" 
" Nothing, I suppose, ma'am." 

" I hope you are not going to lay it up against her ?" 
" No ma'am, — I hope not." 

" Take care dear Ellen, don't take up the trade of sus- 
pecting evil ; you could not take up a worse : and even when it 
is forced upon you, see as little of it as you can, and forget as 
soon as you can what you see. Your aunt, it may be, is not 
a very happy person, and no one can tell but those that are 
unhappy how hard it is not to be unamiable too. Return 
good for evil as fast as you can ; and you will soon either 
have nothing to complain of or be very well able to bear it." 

They now began to go up the mountain, and the path be- 



224 



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came in places steep and rugged enough. " There is an easier 
way on the other side," said Alice, " but this is the nearest 
for us." Captain Parry now showed signs of being decidedly 
weary, and permitted Alice to take him up. But he presently 
mounted from her arms to her shoulder, and to Ellen's great 
amusement kept his place there, passing from one shoulder to 
the other, and every now and then sticking his nose up into 
her bonnet as if to kiss her. 

" What does he do that for ?" said Ellen. 

"Because he loves me and is pleased," said Alice. "Put 
your ear close Ellen, and hear the quiet way he is purring to 
himself — do you hear ? — that's his way ; he very seldom purrs 
aloud." 

" He's a very funny cat," said Ellen laughing. 

" Cat !" said Alice, — " there isn't such a cat as this to be 
seen. He's a cat to be respected, my old Captain Parry. 
He is not to be laughed at Ellen, I can tell you." 

The travelers went on with good will ; but the path was 
so steep and the way so long that when a'bout half way up 
the mountain they were fain to follow the example of their 
four-footed companion and rest themselves. They sat down 
on the ground. They had warmed themselves with walking, 
but the weather was as chill and disagreeable and gusty as 
ever ; every now and then the wind came sweeping by, catch- 
ing up the dried leaves at their feet and whirling and scatter- 
ing them off to a distance, — winter's warning voice. 

" I never was in the country before when the leaves were 
off the trees," said Ellen. " It isn't so pretty Miss Alice, do 
you think so ?" 

" So pretty ? No, I suppose not, if we were to have it all 
the while ; but I like the change very much." 

" Do you like to see the leaves off the trees ?" 

" Yes— in the time of it. There's a beauty in the leafless 
trees that you cannot see in summer. Just look Ellen — no, 
I cannot find you a nice specimen here, they grow too thick ; 
but where they have room the way the branches spread and 
ramify, or branch out again, is most beautiful. There's first 
the trunk — then the large branches — then those divide into 
smaller ones ; and those part and part again into smaller and 
smaller twigs, till you are canopied as it were with a network 
of fine stems. And when the snow falls gently on them — O 



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225 



Ellen winter Las its own beauties. I love it all ; the cold, 
and the wind, and the snow, and the bare forests, and our 
little river of ice. What pleasant sleigh-rides to church I 
have had upon that river. And then the evergreens, — look 
at them ; you don't know in summer how much they are 
worth ; wait till you see the hemlock branches bending with 
a weight of snow, and then if you don't say the winter is 
bsautiful I'll give you up as a young lady of bad taste." 

" I dare say I shall," said Ellen ; " I am sure I shall like 
what you like. But Miss Alice, what makes the leaves fall 
when the cold weather comes ?" 

" A very pretty question Ellen, and one that can't be 
answered in a breath." 

" I asked aunt Fortune the other day," said Ellen, laugh- 
ing very heartily, — " and she told me to hush up and not be 
a fool ; and I told her I really wanted to know, and she said 
she wouldn't make herself a simpleton if she was in my place ; 
so I thought I might as well be quiet." 

" By the time the cold weather comes, Ellen, the leaves 
have done their work and are no more needed. Do you 
know what work they have to do ? — do you know what is 
the use of leaves ?" 

" Why for prettiness, I suppose," said Ellen, " and to 
give shade ; — I don't know anything else." 

" Shade is one of their uses, no doubt, and prettiness too ; 
he who made the trees made them ' pleasant to the eyes ' as 
well as * good for food.' So we have an infinite variety of 
leaves ; one shape would have done the work just as well for 
every kind of tree, but then we should have lost a great deal 
of pleasure. But Ellen the tree could not live without leaves. 
In the spring the thin sap which the roots suck up from the 
ground is drawn into the leaves ; there by the help of the sun 
and air it is thickened and prepared in a way you cannot 
understand, and goes back to supply the wood with the 
various matters necessary for its growth and hardness. After 
this has gone on some time the little vessels of the leaves 
become clogged and stopped up with earthy and other mat- 
ter ; they cease to do their work any longer ; the hot sun 
dries them up more and more, and by the time the frost 
comes they are as good as dead. That finishes them, 



11 



226 



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and they drop off from the branch that needs them no more. 
Do you understand all this ?" 

" Yes, ma'am, very well," said Ellen ; " and it's exactly 
what I wanted to know, and very curious. So the trees 
couldn't live without leaves ?" 

" No more than you could without a heart and lungs." 

" I am very glad to know that," said Ellen. " Then how 
is it with the evergreens, Miss Alice? Why don't their 
leaves die and drop off too ?" 

" They do ; look how the ground is carpeted under that 
pine tree." 

" But they stay green all winter, don't they ?" 

" Yes ; their leaves are fitted to resist frost ; I don't know 
what the people in cold countries would do else. They 
have the fate of all other leaves however ; they live awhile, 
do their work, and then die ; not all at once though ; there 
is always a suppty left on the tree. Are we rested enough to 
begin again ?" 

" I am," said Ellen ; " I don't know about the Captain. 
Poor fellow ! he's fast asleep. I declare it's too bad to wake 
you up, pussy. Haven't we had a pleasant little rest, Miss 
Alice ? I have learnt something while we have been sitting 
here." 

" That is pleasant, Ellen," said Alice, as they began their 
upward march ; — " I would I might be all the while learning 
something." 

" But you have been teaching, Miss Alice, and that's as good. 
Mamma used to say it is more blessed to give than to receive." 

" Thank you, Ellen," said Alice smiling ; " that ought to 
satisfy me certainly." 

They bent themselves against the steep hill again and 
pressed on. As they rose higher they felt it grow more cold 
and bleak ; the woods gave them less shelter, and the wind 
swept round the mountain-head and over them with great 
force, making their way quite difficult. 

" Courage, Ellen !" said Alice as they struggled on ; 
" we shall soon be there." 

" I wonder," said the panting Ellen, as making an effort 
she came up alongside of Alice — " I wonder why Mrs. 
Vawse will live in such a disagreeable place." 



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227 



" It is not disagreeable to her, Ellen ; though I must say 
I should not like to have tio much of this wind." 

" But does she really like to live up here better than 
down below where it is warmer ? — and all alone too ?" 

" Yes, she does. Ask her why, Ellen, and see what she 
will tell you. She likes it so much better that this little 
cottage was built on purpose for her near ten years ago, by 
a good old friend of hers, a connection of the lady whom 
she followed to this country." 

" Well," said Ellen, " she must have a queer taste — that 
is all I can say." 

They were now within a few easy steps of the house, 
which did not look so uncomfortable when they came close 
to it. It was small and low, of only one story, through it is 
true the roof ran up very steep to a high and sharp gable. 
It was perched so snugly in a niche of the hill that the little 
yard was completely sheltered with a high wall of rock. 
The house itself stood out more boldly and caught pretty 
well near all the winds that blew ; but so, Alice informed 
Ellen, the inmate liked to have it. 

" And that roof," said Alice, — " she begged Mr. Marshman 
when the cottage was building that the roof might be high 
and pointed ; she said her eyes were tired with the low roofs 
of this country, and if he would have it made so it would be 
a great relief to them." 

The odd roof Ellen thought was pretty. But they now 
reached the door, protected with a deep porch. Alice entered 
and knocked at the other door. They were bade to come 
in. A woman was there stepping briskly back and forth 
before a large spinning-wheel. She half turned her head to 
see who the comers were, then stopped her wheel instantly, 
and came to meet them with open arms. 

" Miss Alice ! Dear Miss Alice, how glad I am to see you." 

" And I you, dear Mrs. Vawse," said Alice kissing her. 
" Here's another friend you must welcome for my sake — little 
Ellen Montgomery." 

" I am very glad to see Miss Ellen," said the old wo- 
man, kissing her also ; and Ellen did not shrink from the 
kiss, so pleasant were the lips that tendered it ; so kind and 
frank the smile, so winning the eye ; so agreeable the whole 
air of the person. She turned from Ellen again to Miss Alice, 



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" It's a long while that I have not seen you, dear, — not 
since you went to Mrs. Marshman's. And what a day you 
have chosen to come at last !" 

I can't help that," said Alice, pulling off her bonnet, — 
I couldn't wait any longer. I wanted to see you dolefully, 
Mrs. Vawse." 

" Why my dear ? what's the matter ? I have wanted to 
see you, but not dolefully." 

" That's the very thing Mrs. Vawse ; I wanted to see you 
to get a lesson of quiet contentment." 

" I never thought you wanted such a lesson Miss Alice. 
What's the matter ?" 

" I can't get over John's going away." 

Her lip trembled and her eye was swimming as she said 
so. The old woman passed her hands over the gentle head 
and kissed her brow. 

" So I thought — so I felt, when my mistress died ; and my 
husband ; and my sons, one after the other. But now I 
think I can say with Paul, ' I have learned in whatsoever state 
I am therewith to be content.' I think so ; maybe that I de- 
ceive myself ; but they are all gone, and I am certain that I 
am content now." 

" Then surely I ought to be," said Alice. 

" It is not till one looses one's hold of other things and 
looks to Jesus alone that one finds how much he can do. 
' There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother but I 
never knew all that meant till I had no other friends to lean 
upon ; — nay, I should not say no other friends ; — but my 
dearest were taken awav, You have your dearest still, Miss 
Alice." 

" Two of them," said Alice faintly ; — " and hardly that 
now." 

e< I have not one," said the old woman, — " I have not one ; 
but my home is in heaven, and my Saviour is there preparing 
a place for me. I know it — I am sure of it — and I can wait 
a little while, and rejoice all the while I am waiting. Dearest 
Miss Alice — none of them that trust in him shall be desolate 
don't you believe that ?" 

" I do surely, Mrs. Vawse," said Alice, wiping away a tear 
or two, " but 1 forget it sometimes ; or the pressure of pre- 
sent pain is too much for all that faith and hope can do." 



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229 



" It hinders faith and hope from acting — that is the trou- 
ble. ' They that seek the Lord shall not want any good 
thing.' I know that is true, of my own experience ; so will 
you dear." 

" I know it Mrs. Vawse — I know it all ; but it does me good 
to hear you say it. I thought I should become accustomed 
to John's absence, but I do not at all ; the autumn winds 
all the while seem to sing to me that he is away." 

" My dear love," said the old lady, " it sorrows me much 
to hear you speak so ; I would take away this trial from you 
if I could ; but He knows best. Seek to live nearer to the 
Lord, dear Miss Alice, and he will give you much more than 
he has taken away." 

Alice again brushed away some tears. 

" I felt I must come and see you to-day," said she, " and 
you have comforted me already. The sound of your voice 
always does me good. I catch courage and patience from 
you I believe." 

" * As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the coun- 
tenance of his friend.' How did you leave Mr. and Mrs. 
Marshman ? and has Mr. George returned yet ?" 

Drawing their chairs together, a close conversation began. 
Ellen had been painfully interested and surprised by what 
went before, but the low tone of voice now seemed to be not 
meant for her ear, and turning away her attention, she amused 
herself with taking a general survey. 

It was easy to see that Mrs. Vawse lived in this room, and 
probably had no other to live in. Her bed was in one corner ; 
cupboards filled the deep recesses on each side of the chim- 
ney, and in the wide fireplace the crane and the hooks and 
trammels hanging upon it showed that the bedroom and sit- 
ting-room was the kitchen too. Most of the floor was covered 
with a thick rag carpet ; where the boards could be seen they 
were beautifully clean and white, and everything else in the 
room in this respect matched with the boards. The panes 
of glass in the little windows were clear and bright as panes 
of glass could be made ; the hearth was clean swept up ; the 
cupboard doors were unstained and unsoiled, though fingers 
had worn the paint off ; dust was nowhere. On a little stand 
by the chimney corner lay a large Bible and another book ; 
close beside stood a cushioned arm-chair. Some other apart- 



230 THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 



ment there probably was where wood and stores were kept ; 
nothing was to be seen here that did not agree with a very 
comfortable face of the whole. It looked as if one might be 
happy there ; it looked as if somebody was happy there ; and 
a glance at the old lady of the house would not alter the 
opinion. Many a glance Ellen gave her as she sat talking 
with Alice ; and with every one she felt more and more drawn 
towards her. She was somewhat under the common size and 
rather stout ; her countenance most agreeable ; there was 
sense, character, sweetness in it. Some wrinkles no doubt 
were there too ; lines deep-marked that spoke of sorrows once 
known. Those storms had all passed away ; the last sha- 
dow of a cloud had departed ; her evening sun was shining 
clear and bright towards the setting ; and her brow was 
beautifully placid, rot as though it never had been, but as if 
it never could be ruffled again. Respect no one could help 
feeling for her ; and more than respect one felt would grow 
with acquaintance. Her dress was very odd, Ellen thought. 
It was not American, and what it was she did not know, but 
supposed Mrs. Vawse must have a lingering fancy for the 
costume as well as for the roofs of her fatherland. More than 
all her eye turned again and again to the face, which seemed 
to her in its changing expression winning and pleasant ex- 
ceedingly. The mouth had not forgotten to smile, nor the 
eye to laugh ; and though this was not often seen, the con- 
stant play of feature showed a deep and lively sympathy in 
all Alice was saying, and held Ellen's charmed gaze ; and 
when the old lady's looks and words were at length turned 
to herself she blushed to think how long she had been look- 
ing steadily at a stranger. 

" Little Miss Ellen, how do you like my house on the rock 
here ?" 

" I don't know ma'am," said Ellen ; " I like it very much, 
only 1 don't think I should like it so well in winter." 

" I am not certain that I don't like it then best of all. Why 
would you not like it in winter ?" 

" I shouldn't like the cold ma'am, and to be alone." 

" I like to be alone, but cold ? I am in no danger of freez- 
ing, Miss Ellen. I make myself very warm — keep good 
fires, — and my house is too strong for the wind to blow it 
away. Don't you want to go out and set my cow ? I have 



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231 



one of the best cows that ever you saw; her name is Snow ; 
there is not a black hair upon her; she is all white. Come 
Miss Alice ; Mr. Marshman sent her to me a month ago ; 
she's a great treasure and worth looking at." 

The) r went across the yard to the tiny barn or outhouse, 
where they found Snow nicely cared for. She was in a warm 
stable, a nice bedding of straw upon the floor, and plenty of 
hay laid up for her. Snow deserved it, for she was a beauty 
and a very well-behaved cow, letting Alice and Ellen stroke 
her and pat her and feel of her thick hide, with the most per- 
fect placidity. Mrs. Vawse meanwhile went to the door to 
look out. 

" Nancy ought to be home to milk her," she said ; "I 
must give you supper and send you off. I've no feeling nor 
smell if snow isn't thick in the air somewhere we shall see 
it here soon." 

" I'll milk her," said Alice. 

M I'll milk her !" said Ellen ; " I'll milk her ! Ah do let 
me ; I know how to milk ; Mr. Van Brunt taught me, and I 
have done it several times. May I ? I should like it dearly." 

" You shall do it surely my child," said Mrs. Vawse. 
" Come with me and I'll give you the pail and the milking 
stool." 

When Alice and Ellen came in with the milk they found 
the kettle on, the little table set, and Mrs. Vawse very busy 
at another table. 

" What are you doing Mrs. Vawse, may I ask ?" said 
Alice. 

" I'm just stirring up some Indian meal for you ; I find I 
have not but a crust left." 

" Please to put that away ma'am for another time. Do 
you think I didn't know better than to come up to this moun- 
tain-top without bringing along something to live upon while 
I am here ? Here's a basket ma'am, and in it are divers 
things ; I believe Margery and I between us have packed up 
enough for two or three suppers ; to say nothing of Mis? 
Fortune's pie. There it is — sure to be good you know ; and 
here are some of my cakes that you like so much, Mrs. 
Vawse," said Alice as she went on pulling the things out of 
the basket, — " there is a bowl of butter — that's not wanted I 
Bee — and here is a loaf of bread ; and that's all. Ellen, my 



232 



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dear, this basket will be lighter to carry down than it wa- *-a 
bring up." 

" I am glad of it I am sure," said Ellen ; " my arm hasn't, 
done aching yet, though I had it so little while." 

" Ah, I am glad to hear that kettle singing," said then 
hostess. " I can give you good tea, Miss Alice ; you'll thinl 
so I know, for it's the same Mr. John sent me. It is ver) 
fine tea ; and he sent me a noble supply, like himself,' ' con- 
tinued Mrs. Vawse, taking some out of her little caddy. " 1 
ought not to say I have no friends left ; I cannot eat a meal 
that I am not reminded of two good ones. Mr. John knew 
one of my weak points when he sent me that box of Sou- 
chong." 

The supper was ready, and the little party gathered round 
the table. The tea did credit to the judgment of the giver 
and the skill of the maker, but they were no critics that drank 
it. Alice and Ellen were much too hungry and too happy 
to be particular. Miss Fortune's pumpkin pie was" declared 
to be very fine, and so were Mrs. Vawse's cheese and butter. 
Eating and talking went on with great spirit, their old friend 
seeming scarce less pleased or less lively than themselves. 
Alice proposed the French plan and Mrs. Vawse, entered into 
it very frankly ; it was easy to see that the style of building 
and of dress to which she had been accustomed in early life 
were not the only things remembered kindly for old time's 
sake. It was settled they should meet as frequently as might 
be, either here or at the parsonage, and become good French- 
women with all convenient speed. 

" Will you wish to walk so far to see me again, little Miss 
Ellen ?" 

" Oh yes ma'am !" 

" You won't fear the deep snow, and the wind and cold, 
and the steep hill ?" 

" no ma'am, I won't mind them a bit ; but ma'am, Miss 
Alice told me to ask you why you loved better to live up 
here than down where it is warmer. I shouldn't ask if she 
hadn't said [ might." 

" Ellen has a great fancy for getting at the reason of every- 
thing, Mrs. Vawse," said Alice smiling. 

" You wonder anybody should choose it, don't you Misa 
Ellen?" said the old lady. 



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233 



" Yes ma'am, a little." 

" I'll tell you the reason my child. It is for the love of 
my old home and the memory of my young days. Till I was 
as old as you are and a little older 1 lived among the moun- 
tains and upon them ; and after that, for many a year, they 
were just before my eyes every day, stretching away for 
more than one hundred miles, and piled up one above another, 
fifty times as big as any you ever saw ; these are only mole- 
hills to them. I loved them — oh how I love them still ! If 
I have one unsatisfied wish," said the old lady turning to 
Alice, " it is to see my Alps again ; but that will never be. 
Now Miss Ellen, it is not that I fancy when I get to the top 
of this hill that I am among my own mountains, but I can 
breathe better here than down in the plain. I feel more 
free ; and in the village I would not live for gold, unless that 
duty bade me." 

" But all alone so far from everybody," said Ellen. 

" I am never lonely ; and old as I am I don't mind a long 
walk or a rough road any more than your young feet do." 

" But isn't it very cold ?" said Ellen. 

" Yes, it is very cold ; — what of that ? I make a good 
blazing fire, and then I like to hear the wind whistle." 

" Yes, but you wouldn't like to have it whistling inside as 
well as out," said Alice. " I will come and do the listing: 
and caulking for you in a day or two. Oh you have it done 
without me ! I am sorry." 

" No need to be sorry dear — I am glad ; you don't look 
fit for any troublesome jobs." 

" I am fit enough," said Alice. " Don't put up the cur- 
tains ; I'll come and do it." 

" You must come with a stronger face then," said her old 
friend ; " have you wearied yourself with walking all this 
way ?" 

" I was a little weary," said Alice, " but your nice tea has 
made me up again." 

" I wish I could keep you all night," said Mrs. Vawse 
looking out, "but your father would be uneasy. I am 
afraid the storm will catch you before you get home ; and 
you aren't fit to breast it. Little Ellen too don't look as if 
she was made of iron. Can't you stay with me ?" 

" I must not — it wouldn't do," said Alice, who was hastily 



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putting on her things ; " we'll soon run down the hill. But 
we are leaving you alone ; — where's Nancy ?" 

" She'll not come if there's a promise of a storm," said 
Mrs. Vawse ; "she often stays out a night." 

"And leaves you alone !" 

" I am never alone," said the old lady quietly ; " I have 
nothing to fear ; but I am uneasy about you dear. Mind 
my words ; don't try to go back the way you came ; take 
the other road ; it's easier ; and stop when you get to Mrs. 
Van Brunt's ; Mr. Van Brunt will take you the rest of the 
way in his little wagon." 

" Do you think it is needful ?" said Alice doubtfully. 

"I am sure it is best. Hasten down. Adieu mon en- 
fant." 

They kissed and embraced her and hurried out. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



November chill Maws loud wi' angry soogh ; 
The shortening winler day is near a close. 

Burns. 

The clouds hung thick and low ; the wind was less than, 
it had been. They took the path Mrs. Vawse had spoken of ; 
it was broader and easier than the other, winding more gently 
down the mountain ; it was sometimes indeed traveled by 
horses, though far too steep for any kind of carriage. Alice 
and Ellen ran along without giving much heed to anything 
but their footing, — down, down, — running and bounding, 
hand in hand, till want of breath obliged them to slacken 
their pace. 

" Do you think it will snow ? — soon ?" asked Ellen. 
" I think it will snow, — how soon I cannot tell. Have you 
had a pleasant afternoon ?" 
" Oh very !" 

" I always have when I go there. Now Ellen there is an 
example of contentment for you. If ever a woman loved 
husband and children and friends Mrs. Vawse loved hers ; I 
know this from those who knew her long ago ; and now look 
at her. Of them all she has none left but the orphan daugh- 
ter of her youngest son, and you know a little what sort of a 
child that is." 

" She must be a very bad girl," said Ellen ; " you can't 
think what stories she told me about her grandmother." 

" Poor Nancy !" said Alice. " Mrs. Vawse has no money 
nor property of any kind, except what is in her house ; but 
there is not a more independent woman breathing. She does 
all sorts of things to support herself. Now for instance, 
Ellen, if anybody is sick within ten miles round, the family 
are too happy to get Mrs. Vawse for a nurse. She is an 
admirable one. Then she goes out tailoring at the farmers' 



236 



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houses ; she brings home wool and returns it spun into yarn ; 
she brings home yarn and knits it up into stockings and 
socks ; all sorts of odd jobs. 1 have seen her picking hops ; 
she isn't above doing anything, and yet she never forgets her 
own dignity. I think wherever she goes and whatever she 
is about, she is at all times one of the most truly ladylike 
persons I have ever seen. And everybod}'- respects her ; 
everybody likes to gain her good-will ; she is known all over 
the country ; and all the country are her friends." 

" They pay her for doing these things, don't they ?" 

" Certainly ; not often in money ; more commonly in vari- 
ous kinds of matters that she wants, — flour, and sugar, and 
Indian meal, and pork, and ham, and vegetables, and wool, — 
anything ; it is but a little of each that she wants. She has 
friends that would not permit her to earn another sixpence if 
they could help it, but she likes better to live as she does. 
And she is always as you saw her to-day — cheerful and 
happy, as a little girl." 

Ellen was turning over Alice's last words and thinking that 
little girls were not always the cheerfullest and happiest 
creatures in the world, when Alice suddenly exclaimed, " It 
is snowing ! Come Ellen, we must make haste now !" — and 
set off at a Quickened pace. Quick as they might, they had 
gone not a hundred yards when the whole air was filled with 
the falling flakes, and the wind which had lulled for a little 
now rose with greater violence and swept round the mountain 
furiously. The storm had come in good earnest and promised 
to be no trifling one. Alice and Ellen ran on, holding each 
other's hands and strengthening themselves against the blast, 
but their journey became every moment more difficult. The 
air was dark with the thick-falling snow ; the wind seemed to 
blow in every direction by turns, but chiefly against them, 
blinding their eyes Avith the snow and making it necessary to 
use no small effort to keep on their way. Ellen hardly knew 
where she went, but allowed herself to be pulled along by 
Alice, or as well pulled her along ; it was hard to say which 
hurried most. In the midst of this dashing on down the hill 
Alice all at once came to a sudden stop. 

"Where's the Captain?" said she. 

" I don't know," said Ellen, — " I haven't thought of him 
since we left Mrs. Vawse's." 



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237 



Alice turned her back to the wind and looked up the road 
they had come, — there was nothing but wind and snow there ; 
how furiously it blew ! Alice called, " Pussy ! — " 

"Shall we walk up the road a little way, or shall we stand 
and wait for him here ?" said Ellen, trembling half from 
exertion and half from a vague fear of she knew not what. 

Alice called a^ain ; — no answer, but a wild crust of wind 
and snow that drove past. 

"I can't go on and leave him," said Alice; "he might 
perish in the storm." And she began to walk slowly back, 
calling at intervals, " Pussy ! — kitty ! — pussy !" — and listening 
for an answer that came not. Ellen was very unwilling to 
tarry, and nowise inclined to prolong their journey by going 
backwards. She thought the storm grew darker and wilder 
every moment. 

" Perhaps Captain stayed up at Mrs. Vawse's," she said, 
" and didn't follow us down." 

" No," said Alice, — " I am sure he did. Hark ! — wasn't 
that he?" 

" I don't hear anything," said Ellen, after a pause of 
anxious listening. 

Alice went a few steps further. 

" I hear him !" she said ; — " I hear him ! poor kitty !" — 
and she set off at a quick pace up the hill. Ellen followed, 
but presently a burst of wind and snow brought them both 
to a stand. Alice faltered a little at this, in doubt whether 
to go up or down ; but then to their great joy Captain's far 
off cry was heard, and both Alice and Ellen strained their 
voices to cheer and direct him. In a few minutes he came 
in sight, trotting hurriedly along through the snow, and on 
reaching his mistress he sat down immediately on the ground 
without offering any caress ; a sure sign that he was tired. 
Alice stooped down and took him up in her arms. 

" Poor kitty !" she said, " you've done your part for 
to-day I think ; I'll do the rest. Ellen, dear, it's of no use 
to tire ourselves out at once ; we will go moderately. Keep 
nold of my cloak my child ; it takes both of my arms to hold 
this big cat. Now never mind the snow ; w r e can bear being 
blown about a little ; are you very tired ?'' 

" No," said Ellen, — " not very ; — I am a little tired ; but I 
don't care for that if we can only get home safe." 



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" There's no difficulty about that I hope. Nay, there may 
be some difficulty, but we shall get there I think in good 
safety after awhile. I wish we were there now, for your sake 
my child. 'i 

" Oh never mind me," said Ellen gratefully ; " I am sorry 
for you Miss Alice ; you have the hardest time of it with that 
heavy load to carry ; I wish I could help you." 

" Thank you my dear, but nobody could do that ; I doubt 
if Captain would lie in any arms but mine." 

" Let me carry the basket then," said Ellen, — " do, Miss 
Alice." 

" No my dear, it hangs very well on my arm. Take it 
gently ; Mrs. Van Brunt's isn't very far off ; we shall feel the 
wind less when we turn." 

But the road seemed long. The storm did not increase in 
violence, truly there was no need of that, but the looked-for 
turninof was not soon found, and the o-atherin^ darkness 
warned them day was drawing towards a close. As they 
neared the bottom of the hill Alice made a pause. 

" There's a path that turns off from this and makes a 
shorter cut to Mrs. Van Brunt's, but it must be above here ; 
I must have missed it, though I have been on the watch con- 
stantly." 

She looked up and down. It would have been a sharp eye 
indeed that had detected any slight opening in the woods on 
either side of the path, which the driving snow-storm blended 
into one continuous wall of trees. They could be seen 
stretching darkly before and behind them ; but more than 
that, — where they stood near together and where scattered 
apart, — was all confusion, through that fast-falling shower of 
flakes. 

" Shall we go back and look for the path ?" said Ellen. 

" I am afraid we shouldn't find it if we did," said Alice ; 
" we should only lose our time and we have none to lose. 
I think we had better go straight forward." 

" Is it much further this way than the other path we have 
missed ?" 

" A good deal — all of half-a-mile. I am sorry ; but 
courage my child ! we shall know better than to go out in 
snowy weather next time, — on long expeditions at least." 

They had to shout to make each other hear, so drove the 



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239 



snow and wind through the trees and into their very faces and 
ears. They plodded on. It was plodding; the snow lay 
thick enough now to make their footing uneasy, and grew 
deeper every moment ; their shoes were full ; their feet and 
ankles were wet ; and their steps began to drag heavily over 
the ground. Ellen clung as close to Alice's cloak as their 
hurried traveling would permit ; sometimes one of Alice's 
hands was loosened for a moment to be passed round Ellen's 
shoulders, and a word of courage or comfort in the clear calm 
tone cheered her to renewed exertion. The night fell fast ; 
it was very darkling by the time they reached the bottom of 
the hill, and the road did not yet allow them to turn their 
faces towards Mrs. Van Brunt's. A wearisome piece of 
the way this was, leading them from the place they 
wished to reach. They could not go fast either ; they 
were too weary and the walking too heavy. Captain had the 
best of it ; snug and quiet he lay wrapped in Alice's cloak 
and fast asleep, little wotting how tired his mistress's arms 
were. 

The path at length brought them to the long desired turn- 
ing ; but it was by this time so dark that the fences on each 
side of the road showed but dimly. They had not spoken 
for a while ; as they turned the corner a sigh of mingled 
weariness and satisfaction escaped from Ellen's lips. It 
reached Alice's ear. 

" What's the matter love ?" said the sweet voice. No 
trace of weariness was allowed to come into it. 

" I am so glad we have got here at last," said Ellen, look- 
ing up with another sigh, and removing her hand for an in- 
stant from its grasp on the cloak to Alice's arm. 

" My poor child ! I wish I could cany you too. Can you 
hold on a little longer ?" 

" yes, dear Miss Alice ; I can hold on." 

But Ellen's voice was not so well guarded. It was like 
her steps, a little unsteady. She presently spoke again. 

" Miss Alice are you afraid ?" 

" I am afraid of your getting sick my child, and a little 
afraid of it for myself ; — of nothing else. What is there to 
be afraid of?" 

"It is very dark," said Ellen ; " and the storm is so thick, 
— do you think you can find the way ?" 



240 



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" I know it perfectly ; it is nothing but to keep straight 
on ; and the fences would prevent us from getting out of the 
road. It is hard walking I know, but we shall get there by- 
and-by ; bear up as well as you can dear. I am sorry I 
can give you no help but words. Don't you think a nice 
bright fire will look comfortable after all this ?" 

" O dear yes !" answered Ellen rather sadly. 

"Are you afraid Ellen?" 

"Tso, Miss Alice — not much — I don't like its being so 
dark, I can't see where I am going." 

" The darkness makes our way longer and more tedious ; it 
will do us no other harm love. I wish I had a hand to give 
you, but this great cat must have both of mine. The dark- 
ness and the light are both alike to our Father ; we are in 
his hand ; we are safe enough dear Ellen." 

Ellen's hand left the cloak again for an instant to press 
Alice's arm in answer ; voice failed at the minute. Then 
clinging anew as close to her side as she could get they toiled 
patiently on. The wind had somewhat lessened of its vio- 
lence, and besides it blew not now in their faces, but against 
their backs, helping them on. Still the snow continued to 
fall very fast, and already lay thick upon the ground ; every 
half hour increased the heaviness and painfulness of their 
march ; and darkness gathered till the very fences could no 
longer be seen. Jt was pitch dark ; to hold the middle of 
the road was impossible ; their only way was to keep along by 
one of the fences ; and for fear of hurting themselves against 
some outstanding post or stone it was necessary to travel 
quite gently. They were indeed in no condition to travel 
otherwise if light had not been wanting. Slowly and patient- 
ly, with painful care groping their way, they pushed on through 
the snow and the thick night. Alice could feel the earnest- 
ness of Ellen's grasp upon her clothes ; and her close pressing 
up to her made their progress still slower and more difficult 
than it would otherwise have been. 

"Miss Alice," — said Ellen. 

" What, my child ?" 

" I wish you would speak to me once in a while." 
Alice freed one of her hands and took hold of Ellen's. 
"I have been so busy picking my way along, I have 
neglected you, haven't I ?" 



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241 



" no, ma'am. But I like to hear the sound of your voice 
sometimes, it makes me feel better." 

" This is an odd kind of traveling, isn't it ?" said Alice 
cheerfully ; — " in .the dark, and feeling our way along ? This 
will be quite an adventure to talk about, won't it?" 

" Quite," said Ellen. 

" It is easier going this way, don't you find it so ? The 
wind helps us forward." 

"It helps me too much," said Ellen ; " I wish it wouldn't 
be quite so very kind. Why, Miss Alice, I have enough to 
do to hold myself together sometimes. It almost makes me 
run, though I am so very tired." 

" Well it is better than having it in our faces at any rate. 
Tired you are, J know, and must be. We shall want to rest 
all day to-morrow, shan't we ?" 

" Oh I don't know !" said Ellen sighing ; " I shall be 
glad when we begin. How long do you think it will be, Miss 
Alice, before we get to Mrs. Van Brunt's ?" 

" My dear child I cannot tell you. I have not the least 
notion whereabouts we are. I can see no way marks, and I 
cannot judge at all of the rate at which we have come. 

" But what if we should have passed it in this darkness ?" 
said Ellen. 

" No, I don't think that," said Alice, though a cold doubt 
struck her mind at Ellen's words ; — " I think we shall 
see the glimmer of Mrs. Van Brunt's friendly candle by- 
and-by." 

But more uneasily and more keenly now she strove to see 
that glimmer through the darkness ; strove till the darkness 
seemed to press painfully upon her eyeballs, and she almost 
doubted her being able to see any light if light there were ; 
it was all blank thick darkness still. She began to question 
anxiously with herself which side of the house was Mrs. Van 
Brunt's ordinary sitting-room ; — whether she should see the 
light from it before or after passing the house ; and now her 
glance was directed often behind her, that they' might be sure 
in any case of not missing their desired haven. In vain she 
looked forward or back ; it was all one ; no cheering glimmer 
of lamp or candle greeted her straining eyes. Hurriedly now 
from time to time the comforting words were spoken to Ellen, 



242 



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for to pursue the long stretch of way that led onward from 
Mrs. Van Brunt's to Miss Fortune's would be a very serious 
matter ; Alice wanted comfort herself. 

" Shall we get there soon, do you think, Miss Alice ?" said 
poor Ellen, whose wearied feet carried her painfully over 
the deepening snow. The tone of voice went to Alice's heart. 

" [ don't know, my darling, — I hope so," she anwered, but 
it was spoken rather patiently than cheerfully. " Fear 
nothing, dear Ellen ; remember who has the care of us ; 
darkness and light are both alike to him ; nothing will do us 
any real harm." 

" How tired you must be, dear Miss Alice, carrying pussy !" 
Ellen said with a sigh. 

For the first time Alice echoed the sigh ; but almost imme- 
diately Ellen exclaimed in a totally different tone, " There's a 
light ! — but it isn't a candle — it is moving about ; — what is 
it ? what is it, Miss Alice ?" 

They stopped and looked. A light there certainly was, 
dimly seen, moving at some little distance from the fence on 
the opposite side of the road. All of a sudden it disappeared. 

* What is it?" whispered Ellen fearfully. 

" I don't know, my love, yet ; wait — " 

They waited several minutes. 

" What could it be?" said Ellen. "It was certainly a 
light, — I saw it as plainly as ever I saw anything ; — what 
can it have done with itself — there it is again ! — going the 
other way !" 

Alice waited no longer, but screamed out, " Who's there ?" 
But the light paid no attention to her cry ; it traveled on. 
" Halloo !" called Alice again as loud as she could. 
" Halloo !" answered a rough deep voice. The light sud- 
denly stopped. 

" That's he ! that's he !" exclaimed Ellen in an ecstacy 
and almost dancing, — " I know it, — it's Mr. Van Brunt ! it's 
Mr. Van Brunt ! — oh, Miss Alice ! " 

Struggling between crying and laughing Ellen could not 
stand it, but gave way to a good fit of crying. Alice felt the 
infection, but controlled herself, though her eyes watered as 
her heart sent up its grateful tribute ; as well as she could she 
answered the halloo. 



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243 



The light was seen advancing towards them. Presently it 
glimmered faintly behind the fence, showing a bit of the dark 
rails covered with snow, and they could dimly see the figure 
of a man getting over them. He crossed the road to where 
they stood. It was Mr. Van Brunt. 

'* I am very glad to see you, Mr. Van Brunt," said Alice's 
sweet voice ; but it trembled a little. 

" Oh, Mr. Van Brunt !" sobbed Ellen. 

That gentleman, at first dumb with astonishment, lifted 
his lantern to survey them, and assure his eyes that his ears 
had not been mistaken. 

" Miss Alice ! — My goodness alive ! — How in the name of 
wonder ! — And my poor little lamb ! — But what on 'arth, 
ma'am ! you must be half dead. Come this way, — just come 
back a little bit, — why, where were you going, ma'am ?" 

" To your house, Mr. Van Brunt ; I have been looking for 
it with no little anxiety, I assure you." 

" Looking for it ! Why how on 'arth ! you wouldn't see 
the biggest house ever was built half a yard off such a plaguy 
night as this." 

" I thought I should see the light from the windows, Mr. 
Van Brunt " 

" The light from the windows ! Bless my soul ! the storm 
rattled so again the windows that mother made me pull the 
great shutters to. I won't have 'em shut again of a stormy 
night, that's a fact ; you'd ha' gone far enough afore you'd 
ha' seen the light through them shutters." 

" Then we had passed the house already, hadn't we ?" 

" Indeed had you, ma'am. I guess you saw my light, 
ha'n't you ?" 

" Yes, and glad enough we were to see it too." 

" I suppose so. It happened so to-night — now that is a 
queer thing — I minded that I hadn't untied my horse ; he's 
a trick of being untied at night and won't sleep well if he 
aint ; and mother wanted me to let him alone 'cause of the 
awful storm, but I couldn't go to my bed in peace, till I had 
seen him to his'n. So that's how my lantern came to be 
going to the barn in such an awk'ard night as this." 

They had reached the little gate, and Mr. Van Brunt with 
some difficulty pulled it open The snow lay thick upon the 



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neat brick walk which Ellen had trod the first time with wet 
feet and dripping garments. A few steps further and they 
came to the same door that had opened then so hospitably to 
receive her. As the faint light of the lantern was thrown 
upon the old latch and door posts, Ellen felt at home ; and a 
sense of comfort sank down into her heart which she had not 
known for some time. 



CHAPTER XX. 



True k, that whilome that good poet said, 
The gentle minde by gentle deeds is knowne : 
For a man by nothing is so well bewrayed 
As by his manners, in which plaine isshowne 
Of what degree and what race he is growne. 

Fairie Qceeni. 

Mr. Van Brunt flung open the door and the two wet and 
weary travelers stepped after him into the same cheerful 
comfortable looking kitchen that had received Ellen once 
before. Just the same, tidy, clean swept up, a good fire, 
and the same old red-backed chairs standing round on the 
hearth in most cozy fashion. It seemed to Ellen a perfect 
storehouse of comfort ; the very walls had a kind face for 
her. There were no other faces however ; the chairs were all 
empty. Mr. Van Brunt put Alice in one and Ellen in ano- 
ther, and shouted, "Mother! — here!" — muttering that she 
had taken herself off with the light somewhere. Not very 
far ; for in half a minute answering the call Mrs. Van Brunt 
and the light came hurriedly in. 

" What's the matter, 'Brahm ? — who's this ? — why 'taint 
Miss Alice ! My gracious me ! — and all wet ! — oh, dear, 
dear ! poor lamb ! Why Miss Alice, dear, where have you 
been ? — and if that aint my little Ellen ! oh dear ! what a fix 
you are in ; — well darling, I'm glad to see you again a'most 
anyway." 

She crossed over to kiss Ellen as she said this ; but sur- 
prise was not more quickly alive than kindness and hospitality. 
She fell to work immediately to remove Alice's wet things, 
and to do whatever their joint prudence and experience might 
suggest to ward, off any ill effects from the fatigue and ex- 
posure the wanderers had suffered ; and while she was thus 
employed Mr. Van Brunt busied himself with Ellen, who 



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was really in no condition to help herself. It was curious to 
see him carefully taking off Ellen's wet hood (not the blue 
one) and knocking it gently to get rid of the snow ; evi- 
dently thinking that ladies' things must have delicate handling. 
He tried the cloak next, but boggled sadly at the fastening of 
that, and at last was fain to call in help. 

" Here Nancy ! — where are you? step here and see if yon 
can undo this here thing, whatever you call it ; I believe my 
fingers are too big for it." 

It was Ellen's former acquaintance who came forward in 
obedience to this call. Ellen had not seen before that she 
was in the room. Nancy grinned a mischievous smile of re- 
cognition as she stooped to Ellen's throat and undid the fast- 
ening of the cloak, and then shortly enough bade her " get 
up, that she might take it off!" Ellen obeyed, but was very 
glad to sit down again. While Nancy went to the door to 
shake the cloak Mr. Van Brunt was gently pulling off Ellen's 
wet gloves, and on Nancy's return he directed her to take 
off the shoes, which were filled with snow. Nancy sat down 
on the floor before Ellen to obey this order ; and tired and ex- 
hausted as she was, Ellen felt the different manner in which 
her hands and feet were waited upon. 

"How did you get into this scrape?" said Nancy ; this 
was none of my doings anyhow. It'll never be dry weather 
Ellen where you are. I won't put on my Sunday-go-to-meet- 
ing clothes when I go a walking with you. You had ought 
to ha' been a duck or a goose, or something like that. — What's 
that for, Mr. Van Brunt !" 

This last query, pretty sharply spoken, was in answer to a 
light touch of that gentleman's hand upon Miss Nancy's ear, 
which came rather as a surprise. He deigned no reply. 

" You're a fine gentleman !" said Nancy tartly. 

" Have you done what I gave you to do?" said Mr. Van 
Brunt coolly. 

" Yes — there !" said Nancy, holding up Ellen's bare feet 
on one hand, while the fingers of the other secretly applied 
in ticklish fashion to the soles of them caused Ellen suddenly 
to start and scream. 

" Get up !" said Mr. Van Brunt ; Nancy didn't think best 
to disobey ; — " Mother, ha'n't you got nothing you want Nancy 
to do?" 



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"Sally," said Mrs. Van Brunt, "you and Nancy go and 
fetch here a couple of pails of hot water, — right away." 

" Go, and mind what you are about," said Mr. Van Brunt ; 
" and after that keep out of this room and don't whisper again 
till I give you leave. Now Miss Ellen dear, how do you feel ?" 

Ellen said in words that she felt "nicely." But the eyes 
and the smile said a great deal more ; Ellen's heart was run- 
ning over. 

" Oh she'll feel nicely directly, I'll be bound," said Mrs. 
Van Brunt ; " wait till she gets her feet soaked, and 
then! " 

" I do feel nicely noAv," said Ellen. And Alice smiled in 
answer to their inquiries, and said if she only knew her 
father was easy there would be nothing wanting to her hap- 
piness. 

The bathing of their feet was a great refreshment, and 
their kind hostess had got ready a plentiful supply of hot 
herb tea, with which both Alice and Ellen were well dosed. 
While they sat sipping this, toasting their feet before the fire, 
Mrs. Van Brunt and the girls meanwhile preparing their 
room, Mr. Van Brunt suddenly entered. He was cloaked and 
hatted and had a riding-whip in his hand. 

" Is there any word you'd like to get home Miss Alice ? 
I'm going to ride a good piece that way, and I can stop as 
good as not." 

" To-night, Mr. Van Brunt !" exclaimed Alice in astonish- 
ment. 

Mr. Van Brunt's silence seemed to say that to-night was 
the time and no other. 

" But the storm is too bad," urged Alice. " Pray don't go 
till to-morrow." 

" Pray don't, Mr. Van Brunt !" said Ellen. 

" Can't help it — I've got business ; must go. What shall 
I say ma'am ?" 

" I should be very glad," said Alice, " to have my father 
know where I am. Are you going very near the Nose ?" 

" Very near." 

" Then I shall be greatly obliged if you will be so kind as 
to stop and relieve my father's anxiety. But how can you 
go ia such weather ? and so dark as it is." 

" Never fear," said Mr. Van Brunt. " We'll be back in 



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half an hour, if 'Brahm and me don't come across a snow- 
drift a leetle too deep. Good night, ma'am." And out he 
went. 

" • Back in half an hour,' " said Alice musing. " Why he 
said he had been to untie his horse for the night ! He must 
be going on our account, I am sure, Ellen !" 

" On your account," said Ellen smiling. "01 knew that 
all the time Miss Alice. I don't think he'll stop to relieve 
aunt Fortune's anxiety." 

Alice sprang to call him back ; but Mrs. Van Brunt as- 
sured her it was too late, and that she need not be uneasy, 
for her son " didn't mind the storm no more than a weather- 
board." 'Brahm and 'Brahm could go anywhere in any sort 
of a time. " He was a - going without speaking to you, but I 
told him he had better, for maybe you wanted to send some 
word particular. And your room's ready now dear, and 
you'd better go to bed and sleep as long as you can." 

They went thankfully. " Isn't this a pleasant room ?" said 
Ellen, who saw everyfcMgi»in rose-color ; " and a nice bed ? 
But I feel as if I could sleep on the floor to-night. Isn't it 
a'most worth while to have such a time, Miss Alice, for the 
sake of the pleasure afterwards ?" 

" I don't know Ellen," said Alice smiling ; " I won't say 
that ; though it is worth paying a price for to find how 
much kindness there is in some people's hearts. As to sleep- 
ing on the floor, I must say I never felt less inclined to it." 

" Well I am tired enough too," said Ellen as they laid 
themselves down. " Two nights with you in a week ! Oh 
those weeks before I saw you, Miss Alice !" 

One earnest kiss for good night ; and Ellen's sigh of 
pleasure on touching the pillow was scarcely breathed when 
sleep deep and sound fell upon her eyelids. 

It was very late next morning when they awoke, having 
slept rather heavily than well. They crawled out of bed 
feeling stiff and sore in every limb ; each confessing to more 
evil effects from their adventure than she had been aware of 
the evening before. All the rubbing and bathing and drink- 
ing that Mrs. Van Brunt had administered had been too little 
to undo what wet and cold and fatigue had done. But Mrs. 
Van Brunt had set her breakfast-table with everything her 
house could furnish that was nice ; a bountifully spread 



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249 



board it was. Mr. Humphreys was there too ; and no bad 
feelings of two of the party could prevent that from being a 
most cheerful and pleasant meal. Even Mr. Humphreys and 
Mr. Van Brunt, two persons not usually given to many words, 
came out wonderfully on this occasion ; gratitude and plea- 
sure in the one, and generous feeling on the part of the other, 
untied their tongues ; and Ellen looked from one to the other 
in some amazement to see how agreeable they could be. 
Kindness and hospitality always kept Mrs. Van Brunt in full 
flow ; and Alice, whatever she felt, exerted herself and sup- 
plied what was wanting* everywhere ; like the transparent 
glazing which painters use to spread over the dead color of 
their pictures ; unknown, it was she gave life and harmony 
to the whole. And Ellen in her enjoyment of everything 
and everybody, forgot or despised aches and pains, and even 
whispered to Alice that coffee was making her well again. 

But happy breakfasts must come to an end, and so did 
this, prolonged though it was. Immediately after, the party 
whom circumstances had gathered for the first and probably 
the last time, scattered again ; but the meeting had left 
pleasant effects on all minds. Mrs. Van Brunt was in general 
delight that she had entertained so many people she thought 
a great deal of, and particularly glad of the chance of show- 
ing her kind feelings towards two of the number. Mr. Hum- 
phreys remarked upon " that very sensible good-hearted man, 
Mr. Van Brunt, towards whom he felt himself under great 
obligation." Mr. Van Brunt said " the minister warn't such 
a grum man as people called him ;" and moreover said " it 
was a good thing to have an education, and he had a notion 
to read more." As for Alice and Ellen, they went away full 
of kind feeling for every one and much love to each other. 
Thi<* was true of them before ; but their late troubles had 
drawn them closer together and given them fresh occasion to 
value their friends. 

Mr. Humphreys had brought the little one-horse sleigh for 
his daughter, and soon after breakfast Ellen saw it drive oft 
with her. Mr. Van Brunt then harnessed his own and car- 
ried Ellen home. Ill though she felt, the poor child made an 
effort and spent part of the morning in finishing the long let- 
ter to her mother which had been on the stocks since Mon- 
day. The effort became painful towards the last ; and the 
12 



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aching limbs and trembling hand of whicr. she complained 
were the first beginnings of a serious fit of illness. She went 
to bed that same afternoon and did not leave it again for two 
weeks. Cold had taken violent hold of her system ; fever 
set in and ran high ; and half the time little Ellen's m\s were 
roving in delirium. Nothing however could be too much for 
Miss Fortune's energies ; she was as much at home in a sick 
room as in a well one. She flew about with increased agili- 
ty ; was up stairs and down stairs twenty times in the course 
of the day, and kept all straight everywhere. Ellen's room 
was always the picture of neatness ; the fire, the wood fire, 
was taken care of; Miss Fortune seemed to know by instinct 
when it wanted a fresh supply, and to be on the spot by 
magic to give it. Ellen's medicines were dealt out in proper 
time ; her gruels and drinks perfectly well made and arranged 
with appetizing nicety on a little table by the bedside where 
she could reach them herself; and Miss Fortune was gene- 
rally at hand when she was wanted. But in spite of all this 
there was something missing in that sick room, — there was a 
great want ; and whenever the delirium was upon her Ellen 
made no secret of it. She was never violent ; but she moan- 
ed, sometimes impatiently and sometimes plaintively, for her 
mother. It was a vexation to Miss Fortune to hear her. 
The name of her mother was all the time on her lips ; if by 
chance her aunt's name came in, it was spoken in a way that 
crenerallv sent her bouncing out of the room. 

" Mamma," poor Ellen would say, " just lay your hand on 
my forehead, will you? it's so hot. Oh do, mamma ! — where 
are you ? Do put your hand on my forehead, won't you ? — 
O do speak to me, why don't you, mamma ? why don't 
she come to me !" 

Once when Ellen was uneasily calling in this fashion for 
her mother's hand, Miss Fortune softly laid her own upon the 
child's brow ; but the quick sudden jerk of the head from 
under it told her how well Ellen knew the one from 
the other ; and little as she cared for Ellen it was wormwood 
to her. 

Miss Fortune was not without offers of help during this 
sick time. Mrs. Van Brunt, and afterwards Mrs. Vawse, 
asked leave to come and nurse Ellen; but Miss Fortune 
declared it was more plague than profit to her, and she 



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couldn't be bothered with having strangers about. Mrs. Van 
Brunt she suffered, much against her will, to come for a day 
or two : at the end of that Miss Fortune found means to get 
rid of her civilly. Mrs. Yawse she would not allow to stay an 
hour. The old lady got leave however to go up to the sick 
room for a few minutes. Ellen, who was then in a high fever, 
informed her that her mother was down stairs, and her aunt 
Fortune would not let her come up ; she pleaded with tears 
that she might come, and entreated Mrs. Vawse to take her 
aunt away and send her mother. Mrs. Vawse tried to soothe 
her. Miss Fortune grew impatient. 

" What on earth's the use," said she, " of talking to a child 
that's out of her head ? she can't hear reason ; that's the way 
she gets into whenever the fever's on her. I have the plea- 
sure of hearing that sort of thing all the time. Come away, 
Mrs. Vawse, and leave her ; she can't be better any way than 
alone, and I am in the room every other thing ; — she's just as 
well quiet. Nobody knows," said Miss Fortune, on her way 
down the stairs, — "nobody knows the blessing of taking 
care of other people's children that ha'n't tried it. / 've tried 
it, to my heart's content." 

Mrs. Vawse sighed, but departed in silence. 

It was not when the fever was on her and delirium high that 
Ellen most felt the want she then so pitifully made known. 
There were other times, — when her head was aching, and weary 
and weak she lay still there, — how she longed then for the 
dear wonted face ; the old quiet smile that carried so much of 
comfort and assurance with it ; the voice that was like heaven's 
music ; the touch of that loved hand to which she had clung 
for so many years ! She could scarcely bear to think of it 
sometimes. In the still Avakeful hours of night, when the 
only sound to be heard was the heavy breathing of her aunt 
asleep on the floor by her side, and in the long solitary day, 
when the only variety to be looked for was Miss Fortune's 
flitting in and out, and there came to be a sameness about 
that, — Ellen mourned her loss bitterly. Many and many were 
the silent tears that rolled down and wet her pillow ; many a 
long drawn sigh came from the very bottom of Ellen's heart ; 
she was too weak and subdued now for violent weeping. She 
wondered sadly why Alice did not come to see her ; it was 



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another great grief added to the former. She never chose 
however to mention her name to her aunt. She kept her 
wonder and her sorrow to herself, — all the harder to bear for 
that. After two weeks Ellen began to mend, and then she 
became exceeding weary of being alone and shut up to her 
room. It was a pleasure to have her Bible and hymn-book 
lying upon the bed, and a great comfort when she was able 
to look at a few words ; but that was not very often, and 
she longed to see somebody, and hear something besides her 
aunt's dry questions and answers. 

One afternoon Ellen was sitting, alone as usual, bolstered 
up in bed. Her little hymn-book was clasped in her hand ; 
though not equal to reading, she felt the touch of it a solace 
to her. Half dozing, half waking, she had been perfectly 
quiet for some time, when the sudden and not very gentle 
opening of the room door caused her to start and open her 
eyes. They opened wider than usual, for instead of her aunt 
Fortune it was the figure of Miss Nancy Vawse that presented 
itself. She came in briskly, and shutting the door behind her 
advanced to the bedside. 

" Well !" said she, — " there you are ! Why you look smart 
enough. I've come to see you." 

" Have you ?" said Ellen uneasily. 

" Miss Fortune's gone out, and she told me to come and 
take care of you ; so I'm a-going to spend the afternoon." 
" Are you ?" said Ellen again. 

"Yes — aint you glad? I knew you must be lonely, so I 
thought I'd come." 

There was a mischievous twinkle in Nancy's eyes. Ellen 
for once in her life wished for her aunt's presence. 

" What are you doing ?" 

•'Nothing," said Ellen. 

" Nothing indeed ! It's a fine thing to lie there and do 
nothing. You won't get well in a hurry, I guess, will you ? 
You look as well as I do this minute. I always knew you 
was a sham." 

" You are very much mistaken," said Ellen indignantly ; — 
" I have been very sick, and I am not at all well yet." 

" Fiddle-de-dee ! it's very nice to think so ; I guess you're 
lazy. How soft and good those pillows do look to be sure. 



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253 



Come, Ellen, try getting up a little. / believe you hurt your- 
self with sleeping ; it'll do you good to be out of bed a while ; 
come ! get up !" 

She pulled Ellen's arm as she spoke. 

" Stop, Nancy, let me alone !" cried Ellen, struggling with 
all her force, — " I mustn't — I can't ! I mustn't get up ; what 
do you mean ? I'm not able to sit up at all ; let me go !" 

She succeeded in freeing herself from Nancy's grasp. 

" Well, you're an obstinate piece," said the other ; " have 
your own way. But mind, I'm left in charge of you ; is it time 
for you to take your physic ?" 

" I am not taking any," said Ellen. 

" What are you taking?" 

" Nothing but gruel and little things." 

" ' Gruel and little things ;' little things means something 
good I s'pose. Well, is it time for you to take some gruel or 
one of the little things ?" 

" No, I "don't want any." 

" that's nothing ; people never know what's good for 
them ; I'm youi .nurse now, and I'm going to give it to you 
when I think you wrmt it. Let me feel your pulse — yes, your 
pulse says gruel is waiting. I shall put some down to warm 
right away.'' 

" I shan't take it," said Ellen. 

" That's a likely story ! You'd better not say so. I rather 
s'pose you will if I give it to you. Look here, Ellen, you'd 
better mind how you behave ; you're going to do just what I 
t*Jl you. I know how to manage you ; if you make any fuss 
I stall just tickle you finely," said Nancy, as she prepared a 
bed of coals, and set the tin cup of gruel on it to get hot, — 
" I'll do it in no time at all, my young lady — so you'd better 
mind." 

Poor Ellen involuntarily curled up her feet under the bed- 
clothes, so as to get them as far as possible out of harm's 
way. She judged the best thing was to keep quiet if she 
could ; so she said nothing. Nancy was in great glee ; with 
something of the same spirit of mischief that a cat shows when 
she has a captured mouse at the end of her paws. While the 
gruel was heating she spun round the room in quest of 
amusement ; and her sudden jerks and flings from one place and 
thing to another had so much of lawlessness that Ellen was 



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in perpetual terror as to what she might take it into her head 
to do next. 

" Where does that door lead to ?" 

" I believe that one leads to the garret," said Ellen. 

" You believe so ? why don't you say it does, at once ?" 

" 1 have not been up to see." 

" You haven't ! you expect me to believe that, I s'pose ? I 
am not quite such a gull as you take me for ? What's up 
there ?" 

" I don't know of course." 

" Of course ! I declare I don't know what you are up to 
exactly ; but if you won't tell me I'll find out for myself pretty 
quick, — that's one thing." 

She flung open the door and ran up ; and Ellen heard her 
feet tramping overhead from one end of the house to the 
other ; and sounds too of pushing and pulling things over the 
floor ; it was plain Nancy was rummaging. 

" Well," said Ellen, as she turned uneasily upOn her bed, 
" it's no affair of mine ; I can't help it, whatever she does. 
But oh ! won't aunt Fortune be angry !" 

Nancy presently came down with her frock gathered up 
into a bag before her. 

" What do you think I have got here ?" said she. " I s'pose 
you didn't know there was a basket of fine hickory nuts up 
there in the corner ? Was it you or Miss Fortune that hid 
them away so nicely ? I s'pose she thought nobody would 
ever think of looking behind that great blue chest and under 
the feather bed, but it takes me ! — Miss Fortune was afraid 
of your stealing 'em, I guess, Ellen ?" 

" She needn't have been," said Ellen, indignantly. 

" No, I s'pose you wouldn't take 'em if you saw 'em ; you 
wouldn't eat 'em if they were cracked for you, would you ?" 

She flung some on Ellen's bed as she spoke. Nancy had 
seated herself on the floor, and using for a hammer a piece 
of old iron she had brought down with her from the garret 
she was cracking the nuts on the clean white hearth. 

" Indeed I wouldn't !" said Ellen throwing them back ; 
" and you oughtn't to crack them there Nancy, — you'll make 
a dreadful muss." 

"What do you think I care?" said the other scornfully. 
She leisurely cracked and eat as many as she pleased of the 



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255 



nuts, bestowing the rest in the bosom of her frock. Ellen 
watched fearfully for her next move. If she should open the 
little door and get among her books and boxes ! 

Nancy's first care however was the cup of gruel. It was 
found too hot for any mortal lips to bear, so it was set on one 
side to cool. Then taking up her rambling examination of 
the room, she went from window to window. 

" What fine big windows ! one might get in here easy 
enough. I deelare Ellen, some night I'll set the ladder up 
against here, and the first thing you'll see will be me coming 
in. You'll have me to sleep with you before you think." 

" I'll fasten my windows," said Ellen. 

" No you won't. You'll do it a night or two maybe, but 
then you'll forget it I shall find them open when I come. 
O I'll come !" 

" But I could call aunt Fortune," said Ellen. 

" No you couldn't, 'cause if you spoke a word I'd tickle 
you to death ; that's what I'd do. I know how to fix you 
off. And if you did call her I'd just whap out of the window 
and run off with my ladder, and then you'd get a fine comb- 
ing for disturbing the house. What's in this trunk ?" 

" Only my clothes and things," said Ellen. 

" goody ! that's fine ; now I'll have a look at 'em. That's 
just what I wanted, only I didn't know it. Where's the 
key ? here it is sticking in, — that's good !'' 

" O please don't !" said Ellen, raising herself on her 
elbow, " they're all in nice order and you'll get them all 
in confusion. Oh do let them alone !" 

" You'd best be quiet or I'll come and see you," said 
Nancy ; " I'm just going to look at everything in it, and if I 
find anything out of sorts, you'll get it. — What's this ? 
ruffles I declare ! aint you fine ! I'll see how they look on 
me. What a plague ! you haven't a glass in the room. 
Never mind, — I am used to dressing without a glass." 

"Oh I wish you wouldn't,'' said Ellen, who was worried 
to the last degree at seeing her nicely done-up ruffles round 
Nancy's neck ; — "they're so nice, and you'll muss them all up." 

" Don't cry about it," said Nancy coolly, " I aint a going 
to eat 'em. My goodness ! what a fine hood ! aint that 
pretty.* 

The nice blue hood was turning about in Nancy's fingers, 



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and well looked at inside and out. Ellen was in distress for 
fear it would go on Nancy's head, as well as the ruffles round 
her neck ; but it didn't ; she flung it at length on one side, 
and went on pulling out one thing after another, strewing 
them very carelessly about the floor. 

" What's here ? a pair of dirty stocking, as I am alive. Aint 
you ashamed to put dirty stockings in your trunk ?" 

" They are no such thing," said Ellen, who in her vexation 
was in danger of forgetting her fear, — I've worn them but 
once." 

" They've no business in here anyhow," said Nancy, rolling 
them up in a hard ball and giving them a sudden fling at 
Ellen. They just missed her face and struck the wall beyond. 
Ellen seized them to throw back, but her weakness warned 
her she was not able, and a moment reminded her of the 
folly of doing anything to rouse Nancy, who for the present 
was pretty quiet. Ellen lay upon her pillow and looked on, 
ready to cry with vexation. All her nicely stowed piles of 
white clothes were ruthlessly hurled out and tumbled about ; 
her capes tried on ; her summer dresses unfolded, displayed, 
criticized. Nancy decided one was too short ; another very- 
ugly ; a third horribly ill made ; and when she had done with 
each it was cast out of her way on one side or the other as 
the case might be. 

The floor was littered with clothes in various states of 
disarrangement and confusion. The bottom of the trunk was 
reached at last, and then Nancy suddenly recollected her 
gruel, and sprang to it. But it had grown cold again. 

" This won't do," said Nancy as she put it on the coals 
again, — " it must be just right ; it'll warm soon, and then 
Miss Ellen you're agoing to take it, whether or no. I hope 
you won't give me the pleasure of pouring it down." 

Meanwhile she opened the little door of Ellen's study 
closet and went in there, though Ellen begged her not. She 
pulled the door to, and stayed some time perfectly quiet. 
Not able to see or hear what she was doing, and fretted be- 
yond measure that her work-box and writing-desk should be 
at Nancy's mercy, or even feel the touch of her fingers, Ellen 
at last could stand it no longer but threw herself out of the 
bed, weak as she was, and went to see what was going on. 
Nancy was seated quietly on the floor, examining with much 



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257 



seeming interest the contents of the work-box ; trying on the 
thimble, cutting bits of thread with the scissors, and marking 
the ends of the spools ; with whatever like pieces of mischief 
her restless spirit could divise ; but when Ellen opened the 
door she put the box from her and started up. 

. « My goodness me !" said she, " this'll never do. What 
are you out here for ? you'll catch your death with those 
dear little bare feet, and we shall have the mischief to pay." 

As she said this she caught up Ellen in her arms as if she 
had been a baby and carried her back to the bed, where she 
laid her with two or three little shakes, and then proceeded 
to spread up the clothes and tuck her in all round. She then 
ran for the gruel. Ellen was in great question whether to 
give way to tears or vexation ; but with some difficulty deter- 
mined upon vexation as the best plan. Nancy prepared the 
gruel to her liking, and brought it to the bedside ; but to get 
it swallowed was another matter. Nancy was resolved Ellen 
should take it. Ellen had less strength but quite as much 
obstinacy as her enemy, and she was equally resolved not to 
drink a drop. Between laughing on Nancy's part, and very 
serious anger on Ellen's, a struggle ensued. Nancy tried to 
force it down, but Ellen's shut teeth were as firm as a vice, 
and the end was that two-thirds Avere bestowed on the sheet. 
Ellen burst into tears. Nancy laughed. 

" Well I do think," said she, " you are one of the hardest 
customers ever I came across. I shouldn't want to have the 
managing of you when you get a little bigger. the way 
Miss Fortune will look when she comes in here will be a cau- 
tion I O what fun !" 

Nancy shouted and clapped her hands. " Come stop cry- 
ing !" said she, " what a baby you are ! what are you cry- 
ing for? come stop ! — I'll make you laugh if you don't." 

Two or three little applications of Nancy's fingers made 
her words good, but laughing was mixed with crying, and 
Ellen writhed in hysterics. Just then came a little knock at 
the door. EMen did not hear it, but it quieted Nancy. She 
stood still a moment ; and then as the knock was repeated 
she called out boldly " come in !" Ellen raised her head 
" to see who there might be ;" and great was the surprise of 
both and the joy of one as the tall form and broad shoulders 
of Mr. Van Brunt presented themselves. 



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" Oh Mr. Van Brunt," sobbed Ellen, " I am so glad to 

see you ! won't you please send Nancy away ?" 

" What are you doing here ?" said the astonished Dutch- 
man. 

" Look and see, Mr. Van Brunt," said Nancy with a smile 
of mischief's own curling ; " you won't be long finding out I 
guess." 

" Take yourself off, and don't let me hear of your being 
caught here again." 

**. I'll go when I'm ready, thank you," said Nancy ; " and 
as to the rest I haven't been caught the first time yet ; I 
don't know what you mean." 

She sprang as she finished her sentence, for Mr. Van Brunt 
made a sudden movement to catch her then and there. He 
was foiled ; and then began a running chase round the room, 
in the course of which Nancy dodged, pushed, and sprang, 
with a power of squeezing by impassables and overleaping 
impossibilities, that to say the least of it was remarkable. The 
room was too small for her and she was caught at last. 

" I vow !" said Mr. Van Brunt as he pinioned her hands, 
I should like to see you play blind man's buff for once, if I 
waren't the blind man." 

" How'd you see me if you was ?" said Nancy scorn- 
fully. 

" Now Miss Ellen," said Mr. Van Brunt, as he brought her 
to Ellen's bedside, " here she is safe ; what shall I do with 
her?" 

" If you will only send her away, and not let her come 
back, Mr. Van Brunt !" said Ellen, " I'll be so much obliged 
to you!" 

" Let me go !" said Nancy. " I declare you're a real mean 
Dutchman, Mr. Van Brunt." 

He took both her hands in one, and laid the other lightly 
over her ears. 

" I'll let you go," said he. "Now don't you be caught 
here again if you know what is good for yourself." 

He saw Miss Nancy out of the door, and then came back 
to Ellen, who was crying heartily again from nervous vexation. 

" She's gone," said he. " What has that wicked thing 
been doing, Miss Ellen ? what's the matter with you?" 

" Oh, Mr. Van Brunt," said Ellen, " you can't think how 



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259 



she has worried me ; she has been here this great while ; just 
look at all my things on the floor, and that isn't the half." 

Mr. Van Brunt gave a long whistle as his eye surveyed the 
tokens of Miss Nancy's mischief-making, over and through 
which both she and himself had been chasing at full speed, 
making the state of matters rather worse than it was 
before. 

" I do say," said he slowly, " that is too bad. I'd fix them 
up again for you, Miss Ellen, if I knew how ; but my hands 
are a'most as clumsy as my feet, and I see the marks of them 
there ; it's too bad I declare ; I didn't know what I was 
going on." 

" Never mind, Mr. Van Brunt,'' said Ellen, — " I don't 
mind what you've done a bit. I'm so glad to see you !" 

She put out her little hand to him as she spoke. He took 
it in his own silently, but though he said and showed nothing 
of it, Ellen's look and tone of affection thrilled his heart 
with pleasure. 

" How do you do ?" said he kindly. 

" I'm a gi;eat deal better," said Ellen. " Sit down, won't 
you, Mr. Van Brunt ? I want to see you a little." 

Horses wouldn't have drawn him away after that. He sat 
down. 

" Aint you going to be up again some of these days ?" said 
he. 

" Oh yes, I hope so," said Ellen sighing ; "I am very 
tired of lying here." 

He looked round the room ; got up and mended the fire ; 
then came and sat down again. 

" I was up yesterday for a minute," said Ellen, "but the 
chair tired me so I was glad to get back to bed again." 

It was no wonder ; harder and straighter-backed chairs 
never were invented. Probably Mr. Van Brunt thought so. 

" Wouldn't you like to have a rocking-cheer ?" said he sud- 
denly, as if a bright thought had struck him. 

** Oh yes, how much I should !" said Ellen, with another 
long drawn breath, " but there isn't such a thing in the 
house that ever I saw." 

"Ay but there is in other houses though/' said Mr. Van 
Brunt, with as near an approach to a smile as his lips com- 
monly made ; — " We'll see !" 



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Ellen smiled more broadly. " But don't }-ou give yourself 
any trouble for me," said she. 

" Trouble indeed !" said Mr. Van Brunt ; " J don't know 
anything about that. How came that wicked thing up here 
to plague you 

" She said aunt Fortune left her to take care of me." 

" That's one of her lies. Your aunt's gone out, I know ; 
but she's a trifle wiser than to do such a thing as that. She 
has plagued you badly, ha'n't she ?" 

He might have thought so. The color which excitement 
brought into Ellen's face had faded away, and she had settled 
herself back against her pillow with an expression of weak- 
ness and weariness that the strong man saw and felt. 

" What is there I can do for you ?" said he, with a gentle- 
ness that seemed almost strange from such lips. 

" If you would," said Ellen faintly, — " if you could be so 
kind as to read me a hymn ? — I should be so glad. I've had 
nobody to read to me." 

Her hand put the little book towards him as she said so. 

Mr. Van Brunt would vastly rather any one had asked him 
to plough an acre. He was to the full as much confounded 
as poor Ellen had once been at a request of his. He hesi- 
tated, and looked towards Ellen wishing for an excuse. But 
the pale little face that lay there against the pillow, — t-he 
drooping eyelids, — the meek helpless look of the little child, 
put all excuses out of his head ; and though he would have 
chosen to do almost anything else, he took the book and 
asked her " Where ?" She said anywhere ; and he took the 
first he saw. 

" Poor, weak, and worthless though I am, 
I have a rich almighty friend ; 
Jesus the Saviour is his name, 
lie freely loves, and without end." 

" Oh," said Ellen with a sigh of pleasure, and folding her 
hands on her breast, — " how lovely that is !" 

He stopped and looked at her a moment, and then went 
on with increased gravity. 

" He ransom'd me from hell with blood, 
And by his pow'r my foes controll'd ; 
He found me wand'ring far from God, 
And brought me to his chosen fold." 



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261 



"Fold?" said Ellen, opening her eyes; " what is that ?" 

" It's where sheep are penned, aint it ?" said Mr. Van 
Brunt after a pause. 

" Oh yes !" said Ellen, " that's it ; I remember ; that's 
like what he said, ' I am the good shepherd,' and ' the Lord 
is my shepherd ;' I know now. Go on, please." 

He finished the hymn without more interruption. Looking 
again towards Ellen, he was surprised to see several large 
tears finding their way down her cheeks from under the wet 
eyelash. But she quickly wiped them away. 

" What do you read them things for," said he, "if they 
make you feel bad." 

" Feel bad !" said Ellen. " Oh they don't ; they make me 
happy ; I love them dearly. I never read that one before. 
You can't think how much I am obliged to you for reading 
it to me. Will you let me see where it is ?" 

He gave it her. 

" Yes there's his mark !" said Ellen with sparkling eyes. 
" Now Mr. Van Brunt would you be so very good as to read it 
once more ?" 

He obeyed. It was easier this time. She listened as 
before with closed eyes, but the color came and went once or 
twice. 

" Thank you very much," she said, when he had done. 
" Are you going ?" 

" I must ; I have some things to look after." 
She held his hand still. 
*' Mr. Van Brunt, — don't you love hymns ?" 
" I don't know much about 'em Miss Ellen." 
" Mr. Van Brunt, are you one of that fold V 
"What fold?" 

" The fold of Christ's people." 

"I'm afeard not, Miss Ellen," said he soberly, after a min- 
ute's pause. 

" Because," said Ellen bursting into tears, " I wish you 
were, very much." 

She carried the great brown hand to her lips before she let 
it go. He went without saying a word. But when he got 
out he stopped and looked at a little tear she had left on the 
back of it. And he looked till one of his own fell there to 
keep it company. 



CHAPTER XXI. 



O that had, how sad a passage 'tis! 

Shaespeark. 

The next day, about the middle of the afternoon, a light 
step crossed the shed, and the great door opening gently, in 
walked Miss Alice Humphreys. The room was all "redd 
up," and Miss Fortune and her mother sat there at work ; 
one picking over white beans at the table, the other in her 
usual seat by the fire and at her usiial employment, which 
was knitting. Alice came forward and asked the old lady 
how she did. 

" Pretty well — pretty well !" — she answered, with the 
look of bland good-humor her face almost always wore, — 
*' and glad to see you dear. Take a chair." 

Alice did so, quite aware that the other person in the room 
was not glad to see her. 

" And how goes the world with you, Miss Fortune ?" 

" Humph ! it's a queer kind of a world I think," answered 
that lady dryly, sweeping some of the picked beans into her 
pan ; — " I get a'most sick of it sometimes." 

" Why what's the matter ?" said Alice pleasantly ; " may 
I ask ? Has anything happened to trouble you ?" 

" no !" said the other someAvhat impatiently ; " nothing 
that's any matter to any one but myself ; it's no use speaking 
about it." 

" Ah ! Fortune never would take the world easy," said 
the old woman shaking her head from side to side ; — " never 
would ; — I never could get her to." 

" Now do hush mother, will you !" said her daughter, 
turning round upon her with startling sharpness of look and 
tone ; — " ' take the world easy !' you always did ; I am glad I 
aint like you." 



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263 



" I don't think it's a bad way after all," said Alice ; " what's 
the use of taking it hard Miss Fortune ?" 

" The way one goes on !" said that lady, picking away at 
her beans very fast and not answering Alice's question, — " I'm 
tired of it ; — toil, toil, and drive, drive, — from morning to 
night ; — and what's the end of it all ?" 

" Not much," said Alice gravely, " if our toiling looks no 
further than this world. When we go we shall carry nothing 
away with us. I should think it would be very wearisome 
to toil only for what we cannot keep nor stay long to enjoy." 

" It's a pity you w T arn't a minister Miss Alice," said Miss 
Fortune dryly. 

" no, Miss Fortune," said Alice smiling, " the family 
would be overstocked. My father is one and my brother 
will be another ; a third would be too much. You must be 
so good as to let me preach without taking orders." 

" Well I wish every minister was as good a one as you'd 
make," said Miss Fortune, her hard face giving way a little ; — 
" at any rate nobody 'd mind anything you'd say Miss Alice." 

" That would be unlucky, in one sense," said Alice ; " but 
I believe I know what you mean. But Miss Fortune no one 
would dream the world went very hard with you. I don't 
know anybody I think lives in more independent comfort and 
plenty and has things more to her mind. I never come to 
the house that I am not struck with the fine look of the farm 
and all that belongs to it." 

"Yes," said the old lady nodding her head two or three 
times, " Mr. Van Brunt is a good farmer — very good — there's 
no doubt about that." 

" 1 wonder what hed do," said Miss Fortune, quickly and 
sharply as before, " if there w T arn't a head to manage for 
him ! — O the farm's well enough Miss Alice, — tain't that ; 
every one knows where his own shoe pinches." 

" I wish you'd let me into the secret then, Miss Fortune ; 
Pm a cobbler by profession." 

Miss Fortune's ill humor was giving way, but something 
disagreeable seemed again to cross her mind. Her brow 
darkened. 

" I say it's a poor kind of world and I'm sick of it ! One 
may slave and slave one's life out for other people, and what 
thanks do you get ? — I'm sick of it." 



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" There's a little body up-stairs, or I'm much mistaken, 
who will give you very sincere thanks for every kindness 
shown her." 

Miss Fortune tossed her head, and brushing the refuse 
beans into her lap, she pushed back her chair with a jerk to 
go the fire with them. 

" Much you know about her Miss Alice ! Thanks indeed ! 
I haven't seen the sign of such a thing since she's been here, 
for all I have worked and worked and had plague enough 
with her I am sure. Deliver me from other people's chil- 
dren, say I !" 

" After all, Miss Fortune," said Alice soberly, " it is not 
what we do for people that makes them love us, — or at least 
everything depends on the way things are done. A look of 
love, a word of kindness, goes further towards winning the 
heart than years of service or benefactions mountain-high 
without them." 

" Does she say I am unkind to her ?" asked Miss Fortune 
fiercely. 

" Pardon me," said Alice, " words on her part are un- 
necessary ; it is easy to see from your own that there is no 
love lost between you, and I am very sorry it is so." 

" Love indeed !" said Miss Fortune with great indignation ; 
" there never was any to lose I can assure you. She plagues 
the very life out of me. Why she hadn't been here three 
days before she went off with that girl Nancy Vawse that I 
had told her never to go near, and was gone all night ; that's 
the time she got in the brook. And if you'd seen her face 
when I was scolding her about it ! — it was like seven thun- 
der clouds. Much you know about it ! I dare say she's 
very sweet to you ; that's the way she is to everybody be- 
side me — they all think she's too good to live ; and it just 
makes me mad !" 

" She told me herself," said Alice, " of her behaving ill 
another time, about her mother's letter." 

" Yes — that was another time. I wish you'd seen her !" 

" I believe she saw and felt her fault in that case. Didn't 
she ask your pardon? she said she would." 

" Yes," said Miss Fortune dryly, " after a fashion." 

" Has she had her letter yet V* 

« No." 



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265 



" How is she to-day ?" 

" she's well enough — she's sitting up. You can go up 
and see her." 

" I will directly," said Alice. " But now Miss Fortune I 
am going to ask a favor of you, — will you do me a great 
pleasure ?" 

" Certainly Miss Alice, — if I can." 

" If you think Ellen has been sufficiently punished for her 
ill-behavior — if you do not think it right to withhold her 
letter still, — will you let me have the pleasure of giving it to 
her ? I should take it as a great favor to myself." 

Miss Fortune made no kind of reply to this, but stalked 
out of the room, and in a few minutes stalked in again with 
the letter, which she gave to Alice, only saying shortly, " It 
came to me in a letter from her father." 

" You are willing she should have it?" said Alice. 

* yes ! — do what you like with it." 

Alice now went softly up-stairs. She found Ellen's door 
a little ajar, and looking in could see Ellen seated in a rock- 
ing-chair between the door and the fire, in her double-gown, 
and with her hymn-book in hand. It happened that 
Ellen had spent a good part of that afternoon in crying for 
her lost letter ; and the face that she turned to the door on 
hearing some slight noise outside was very white and thin 
indeed. And though it was placid too, her eye searched the 
crack of the door with a keen wistfulness that went to Alice's 
heart. But as the door was gently pushed open, and the 
eye caught the figure that stood behind it, the sudden and 
entire change of expression took away all her powers of 
speech.- Ellen's face became radiant; she rose from her 
chair, and as Alice silently came in and kneeling down to be 
near her took her in her arms, Ellen put both hers round 
Alice's neck and laid her face there ; — one was too happy 
and the other too touched to say a word. 

"My poor child!" was Alice's first expression. 

" No I aint," said Ellen, tightening the squeeze of her 
arms round Alice's neck ; "I am not poor at all now." 

Alice presently rose, sat down in the rocking-chair and 
took Ellen in her lap ; and Ellen rested her head on her 
bosom as she had been wont to do of old time on her mother's. 

" I am too happy," she murmured. But she was weep- 



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ing, and the current of tears seemed to gather force as it 
flowed. What was little Ellen thinking of just then? O 
those times gone by ! — when she had sat just so ; her head 
pillowed on another as gentle a breast ; kind aims wrapped 
round her, just as now ; the same little old double-gown ; 
the same weak helpless feeling ; the same committing herself 
to the strength and care of another ; — how much the same, 
and oh ! how much not the same ! — and Ellen knew both. 
Blessing as she did the breast on which she leaned and the 
arms whose pressure she felt, they yet reminded her sadly of 
those most loved and so very far away ; and it was an odd 
mixture of relief and regret, joy and sorrow, gratified and 
ungratified affection, that opened the sluices of her eyes. 
Tears poured. 

" What is the matter my love ?" said Alice softly. 

" 1 don't know," whispered Ellen. 

" Are you so glad to see me ? or so sorry ? or what is it V* 

" Oh, glad and sorry both, I think," said Ellen with a long 
breath, and sitting up. 

" Have you wanted me so much my poor child ?" 

" I cannot tell you how much," — said Ellen, her words cut 
short. 

" And didn't you know that I have been sick too ? What 
did you think had become of me ? Why Mrs. Vawse was 
with me a whole week, and this is the very first day I have 
been able to go out. It is so fine to-day I was permitted to 
ride Sharp down." 

" Was that it?" said Ellen. " I did wonder-Miss Alice, I 
did wonder very much why you did not come to see me, but 
I never liked to ask aunt Fortune, because — " 

" Because what ?" 

" I don't know as I ought to say what I was going to ; — I 
had a feeling she would be glad about what I was sorry 
about." 

" Don't know that you ought to say," said Alice. "Re- 
member, you are to study English with me." 
Ellen smiled a glad smile. 

" And you have had a weary two weeks of it, haven't you, 
dear ?" 

" Oh," said Ellen, with another long drawn sigh, " how 
weary ! Part of that time to be sure I was out of my head ; 



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267 



but I have got so tired lying here all alone ; aunt Fortune 
coming in and out was just as good as nobody. " 

"Poor child!" said Alice, "you have had a worse time 
than I." 

" I used to lie and watch that crack in the door at the foot 
of my bed," said Ellen, " and I got so tired of it I hated to 
see it but when I opened my eyes I couldn't help looking at 
it, and watching all the little ins and outs in the crack till I 
was as sick of it as could be. And that button too that fast- 
ens the door, and the little round mark the button has made, 
and thinking how far the button went round. And then if I 
looked towards the windows I would go right to counting the 
panes, first up and down and then across ; and I didn't want 
to count them, but I couldn't help it ; and watching to see 
through which pane the sky looked brightest. Oh I got so 
sick of it all ! There was only the fire that I didn't get tired 
of looking at ; I always liked to lie and look at that, except 
when it hurt my eyes. And oh how I wanted to see you, Miss 
Alice ! You can't think how sad I felt that you didn't come 
to see me. I couldn't think what could be the matter." 

" I should have been with you, dear, and not have left you, 
if I had not been tied at home myself." 

" So I thought ; and that made it seem so very strange. 
But ! don't you think," said Ellen, her face suddenly 
brightening, — " don't you think Mr. Van Brunt came up to 
see me last night ? Wasn't it good of him ? He even 
sat down and read to me ; only think of that. And isn't 
he kind ? he asked if I would like a rocking-chair ; and of 
course I said yes, for these other chairs are dreadful, they 
break my back ; and there wasn't such a thing as a rocking- 
chair in aunt Fortune's house, she hates 'em she says ; and 
this morning, the first thing I knew in walked Mr. Van Brunt 
with this nice rocking-chair. Just get up and see how nice 
it is ; — you see the back is cushioned, and the elbows, as well 
as the seat ; — it's queer-looking, aint it ? but it's very com- 
fei table. Wasn't it good of him ?" 

" It was very kind, I think. But do you know, Ellen, I 
am going to have a quarrel with you ?" 

" What about ?" said Ellen. " I don't believe it's anything 
very bad, for you look pretty good-humored, considering." 

"Nothing very bad," said Alice, "but still enough to 



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quarrel about. You have twice said ' ainf since I have been 
here." 

" Oh/' said Ellen, laughing, " is that all ?" 
" Yes," said Alice, " and my English ears don't like it 
at all." 

" Then they sha'n't hear it," said Ellen, kissing her. " I 
don't know what makes me say it ; I never used to. But 
I've got more to tell you ; I've had more visiters. Who do 
you think came to see me ? — you'd never guess — Nancv 
Yawse ! Mr. Yan Brunt came in the very nick of time, when 
I was almost worried to death with her. Only think of her 
coming up here ! unknown to everybody. And she stayed an 
age, and how she did go on. She cracked nuts on the hearth ; 
— she got every stitch of my clothes out of my trunk and 
scattered them over the floor ; — she tried to make me drink 
gruel till between us we spilled a great parcel on the bed ; 
and she had begun to tickle me when Mr. Yan Brunt came. 
wasn't I glad to see him ! And when aunt Fortune came 
up and saw it all she was as angry as she could be ; and she 
scolded and scolded, till at last I told her it was none of my 
doing, — I couldn't help it at all, — and she needn't talk so to 
me about it ; and then she said it was my fault the whole 
of it ! that if I hadn't scraped acquaintance with Nancy 
when she had forbidden me all this would never have hap- 
pened." 

" There is some truth in that, isn't there, Ellen ?" 

" Perhaps so ; but I think it might all have happened whe- 
ther or no ; and at any rate it is a little hard to talk so to me 
about it now when it's all over and can't be helped. 0, I 
have been so tired to-day, Miss Alice ! — aunt Fortune has 
been in such a bad humor." 

" What put her in a bad humor ?" 

" Why all this about Nancy in the first place ; and then I 
know she didn't like Mr. Van Brunt's bringing the rocking- 
chair for me ; she couldn't say much but I could see by her 
face. And then Mrs. Yan Brunt's coming — I don't think 
she liked that. O, Mrs. Yan Brunt came to see me this 
morning and brought me a custard. How many people are 
kind to me ! — everywhere I go." 

" I hope, dear Ellen, you don't forget whose kindness sends 
them all." 



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269 



" I don't, Miss Alice ; I always think of that now ; and it 
seems you can't think how pleasant to me sometimes." 

" Then I hope you can bear unkindness from one poor 
woman, — who after all isn't as happy as you are, — without 
feeling any ill-will towards her in return." 

" I don't think I feel ill-will towards heii," said Ellen ; " I 
always try as hard as I can not to ; but I can't like her Miss 
Alice ; and I do get out of patience. It's very easy to put 
me out of patience I think ; it takes almost nothing some- 
times." 

" But remember, ' charity suffereth long and is kind.' " 
" And I try all the while dear Miss Alioe to keep down my 

bad feelings," said Ellen, her eyes watering as she spoke ; 

" I try and pray to get rid of them, and I hope I shall by-and- 

by ; I believe I am very bad." 
Alice drew her closer. 

" I have felt very sad part of to-day," said Ellen present- 
ly ; " aunt Fortune, and my being so lonely, and my poor let- 
ter, altogether ; — but part of the time I felt a great deal bet- 
ter. I was learning that lovely hymn, — do you know it Miss 
Alice ? — *■ Poor, weak, and worthless, though I am ? ' " 

Alice went on : — 

I have a rich almighty friend, 
Jesus the Saviour is his name, 
He freely loves, and without end. 

" dear, Ellen, whoever can say that, has no right to be 
unhappy. No matter what happens, we have enough to be 
glad of." 

" .'Mid then I was thinking of those words in the Psalms, — 
' Blessed is the man' — stop, I'll find it ; I don't know exactly 
how it goes ; — ' Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven ; 
whose sin is covered.' " 

" O yes indeed !" said Alice. " It is a shame that any 
trifles should worry much those whose sins are forgiven them 
and who are the children of the great King. Poor Miss For- 
tune never knew the sweetness of those words. We ought 
to be sorry for her and pray for her Ellen ; and never, never, 
even in thought, return evil for evil. It is not like Christ to 
do so." 

" I will not, I will not, if I can help it," said Ellen. 

" You can help it ; but there is only cne way. Now Ellen 



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dear, I have three pieces of news for you that I think you 
will like. One concerns you, another myself, and the third 
concerns both you and myself. Which will you have first ?" 

" Three pieces of good news !" said Ellen with opening 
eyes ; — " I think I'll have my part first." 

Directing Ellen's eyes to her pocket, Alice slowly made the 
corner of the letter show itself. Ellen's color came and went 
quick as it w T as drawn forth ; but when it was fairly out and 
she knew it again, she flung herself upon it with a desperate 
eagerness Alice had not looked for ; she was startled at the 
half frantic way in which the child clasped and kissed it, 
weeping bitterly at the same time. Her transport was almost 
hysterical. She had opened the letter, but she was not able 
to read a word ; and quitting xVlice's arms she threw herself 
upon the bed, sobbing in a mixture of joy and sorrow that 
seemed to take away her reason. iYlice looked on surprised 
a moment, but only a moment, and turned away. 

When Ellen was able to begin her letter the reading of it 
served to throw her back into fresh fits of tears. Many a word 
of Mrs. Montgomery's went so to her little daughter's heart that 
its very inmost cords of love and tenderness were wrung. It 
is true the letter was short and very simple ; but it came from 
her mother's heart ; it was written by her mother's hand ; 
and the very old remembered handwriting had mighty power 
to move her. She was so wrapped up in her own feelings 
that through it all she never noticed that Alice was not near 
her, that Alice did not speak to comfort her. When the let- 
ter had been read time after time and wept over again and 
again, and Ellen at last was folding it up for the present, she 
bethought herself of her friend and turned to look after her. 
Alice was sitting by the window, her face hid in her hands ; 
and as Ellen drew near she was surprised to see that her tears 
were flowing and her breast heaving. Ellen came quite close 
and softly laid her hand on Alice's shoulder. But it drew no 
attention. 

" Miss Alice," said Ellen almost fearfully, — " dear Miss 
Alice," — and her own eyes filled fast again, " what is the 
matter ? — won't you tell me ? — Oh don't do so ! please 
don't !'' 

" I will not," said Alice lifting her head ; "I am sony I 
have troubled you dear ; I am sorry I could not help it." 



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She kissed Ellen, who stood anxious and sorrowful by her 
side, and brushed away her tears. But Ellen saw she had 
been shedding a great many. 

" What is the matter, dear Miss Alice ? what has happen- 
ed to trouble you ? — won't you tell me ?" — Ellen was almost 
crying herself. 

Alice came back to the rocking-chair, and took Ellen in her 
arms again ; but she did not answer her. Leaning her face 
against Ellen's forehead she remained silent. Ellen ventured 
to ask no more questions ; but lifting her hand once or tw T ice 
caressingly to Alice's face she was distressed to find her cheek 
wet still. Alice spoke at last. 

" It isn't fair not to tell you what is the matter, dear Ellen, 
since I have let you see me sorrowing. It is nothing new, 
nor anything J would have otherwise if I could. It is only 
that I have had a mother once, and have lost her ; — and you 
brought back the old time so strongly that I could not com- 
mand myself." 

Ellen felt a hot tear drop upon her forehead, and again 
ventured to speak her sympathy only by silently stroking 
Alice's cheek. 

" It is all past bow/' said Alice ; " it is all well. I would 
not have her back again. I shall go to her I hope by- 
and-by." 

"Oh no ! you must stay with me," said Ellen, clasping 
both arms round her. 

There was a long silence, during which they remained 
locked in each other's arms. 

"Ellen dear," said Alice at length, " we are both mother- 
less, for the present at least, — both of us almost alone ; I 
think God has brought us together to be a comfort to each 
other. We will be sisters while he permits us to be so. 
Don't call me Miss Alice any more. You shall be my little 
sister and I will be your elder sister, and my home shall be 
your home as well." 

Ellen's arms were drawn very close round her companion 
at this, but she said nothing, and her face was hid in Alice's 
bosom. There was another very long pause. Then Alice 
spoke in a livelier tone. 

" Come Ellen ! look up ! you and I have forgotten our- 
selves ; it isn't good for sick people to get down in the dumps. 



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Look up and let me see these pale cheeks. Don't you want 
something to eat ?" 

" I don't know," said Ellen faintly. 

" What would you say to a cup of chicken broth ?" 

"01 should like it very much !'' said Ellen with new 
energy. 

" Margery made me some particularly nice, as she always 
does ; and I took it into my head a little might not come 
amiss to you ; so I resolved to stand the chance of Sharp's 
jolting it all over me, and I rode down with a little pail of it 
on my arm. Let me rake open these coals and you shall 
have some directly." 

" And did you come without being spattered ?" said Ellen. 

"Not a drop. Is this what you use to warm things in? 
Never mind, it has had gruel in it ; I'll set the tin pail on the 
fi e ; it won't hurt it." 

" I am so much obliged to you," said Ellen, " for do you 
know I have got quite tired of gruel, and panada I can't 
bear." 

" Then I am very glad I brought it." 

While it was warming Alice washed Ellen's gruel cup and 
spoon ; and presently she had the satisfaction of seeing Ellen 
eating the broth with that keen enjoyment none know but 
those that have been sick and are getting well. She smiled 
to see her gaining strength almost in the very act of swal- 
lowing. 

" Ellen," said she presently, " I have been considering your 
dressing-table. It looks rather doleful. I'll make you a 
present of some dimity, and when you come to see me you 
shall make a cover for it that will reach down to the floor 
and hide those Long legs." 

"That wouldn't do at all," said Ellen; "aunt Fortune 
would go off into all sorts of fits." 

" What about ?" 

" Why the washing, Miss Alice — to nave such a great thing 
to wash every now and then. You can't think what a fuss 
she makes if I have more than just so many white clothes in 
the wash every week." 

" That's too bad," said Alice. " Suppose you bring it up 
to me — it wouldn't be often — and I'll have it washed for you, 
— if you care enough about it to take the trouble." 



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" indeed I do !" said Ellen ; " I should like it very much ; 
and I'll get Mr. Van Brunt to — no I can't, aunt Fortune 
•won't let me ; I was going to say I would get him to saw off 
the legs and make it low r er for me, and then my dressing-box 
would stand so nicely on the top. Maybe I can yet. Oh I 
never showed you my boxes and things." 

Ellen brought them all out and displayed their beauties. 
In the course of going over the -writing-desk she came to the 
secret drawer and a little money in it. 

" Oh that puts me in mind ! she said. " Miss Alice, this 
money is to be spent for some- poor child ; — now I've been 
thinking Nancy has behaved so to me I should like to give 
her something to show her that I don't feel unkindly about 
it — what do you think would be a good thing ?" 

" I don't know Ellen — I'll take the matter into considera- 
tion." 

" Do you think a Bible would do ?" 

" Perhaps that would do as well as anything ; — I'll think 
about it." 

" I should like to do it very much," said Ellen, " for she 
has vexed me wonderfully." 

"Well, Ellen, would you like to hear my other pieces of 
news? or have you no curiosity?" 

" yes indeed," said Ellen ; "I had forgotten it entirely ; 
what is it Miss Alice ?" 

" You know I told you one concerns only myself, but it is 
great news to me. I learnt this morning that my brother 
will come to spend the holidays with me. It is many 
months since I have seen him." 

" Does he live far away ?" said Ellen. 

" Yes, — he has gone far away to pursue his studies, and 
cannot come home often. The other piece of news is that I 
intend, if you have no objection, to ask Miss Fortune's leave 
to have you spend the holidays with me too." 

" Oh, delightful !" said Ellen, starting up and clapping her 
hands and then throwing them round her adopted sister's 
neck ; — " dear Alice how r good you are !" 

" Then I suppose I may reckon upon your consent," 
said Alice, " and I'll speak to Miss Fortune without de- 
lay." 

" thank you dear Miss Alice ; — how glad I am ! I shall 
13 



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be happy all the time from now till then thinking of it. You 
aren't going?" 
" I must." 

" Ah don't go yet ! Sit down again ; you know you're 
my sister, — don't you want to read mamma's letter ?" 

** If you please Ellen, I should like it very much." 

She sat down, and Ellen gave her the letter, and stood by 
while she read it, watching her with glistening eyes ; and 
though as she saw Alice's fill her own overflowed again, she 
hung over her still to the last ; going over every line this 
time with a new pleasure. 

" New York, Saturday, Nov. 22, 18 — . 
" My Dear Ellen, 

" I meant to have written to you before, but have been 
scarcely able to do so. I did make one or two efforts which 
came to nothing ; I Avas obliged to give it up before finishing 
anything that could be called a letter. To-day T feel much 
stronger than J have at any time since your departure. 

" 1 have missed you my dear child very much. There is not 
an hour in the day, nor a half hour, that the want of you does 
not come home to my heart ; and I think I have missed you 
in my very dreams. This separation is a very hard thing to 
bear. But the hand that has arranged it does nothing amiss ; 
we must trust Him my daughter that all will be well. I feel 
it is Avell ; though sometimes the thought of your dear little 
face is almost too much for me. 1 will thank God lhave had 
such a blessing so long, and I now commit my treasure to 
Him. It is an unspeakable comfort to me to do this, for 
nothing committed to his care is ever forgotten or neglected. 
Oh my daughter never forget to pray ; never slight it. It is 
almost my only refuge, now I have lost you, and it bears me 
up. How often — how often, — through years gone by, — 
when heart-sick and faint, — I have fallen on my knees, and 
presently there have been as it were drops of cool water 
sprinkled upon my spirit's fever. Learn to love prayer, dear 
Ellen, and then you will have a cure for all the sorrows of 
life. And keep this letter, that if ever you are like to forget 
it, your mother's testimony may come to mind again. 

" My tea, that used to be so pleasant, has become a sad meal 
to me. I drink it mechanically and set down my cup, re- 



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membering only that the dear little hand which used to minis- 
ter to my wants is near me no more. My child — my child ! 
— words are poor to express the heart's yearnings, — my spirit 
is near you all the time. 

" Your old gentleman has paid me several visits. The day 
after you went came some beautiful pigeons. I sent word 
back that you were no longer here to enjoy his gifts, and the 
next day he came to see me. He has shown himself very 
kind. And all this, dear Ellen, had for its immediate cause 
your proper and ladylike behavior in the store. That 
thought has been sweeter to me than all the old gentleman's 
birds and fruit. I am sorry to inform you that though I have 
seen him so many times I am still perfectly ignorant of his 
name. 

" We set sail Monday in the England. Your father has se- 
cured a nice state-room for me, and I have a store of comforts 
laid up for the voyage. So next week you may imagine me 
out on the broad ocean, with nothing but sky and clouds and 
water be seen around me, and probably much too sick to look 
at those. Never mind that ; the sickness is good for me. 

" I will write you as soon as I can again, and send by the 
first conveyance. 

" And now my dear baby — my precious child — farewell. 
May the blessing of God be with you ! 

' l Your affectionate mother, 

E. Montgomery.'* 

" You ought to be a good child Ellen," said Alice, as she 
dashed away some tears. " Thank you for letting me see 
this; it has been a great pleasure to me." 

" And now," said Ellen, " you feel as if you knew mamma 
a little." 

"Enough to honor and respect her very much. Now 
good-bye, my love ; I must be at home before !; is late. I 
will see you again before Christmas comes." 



CHAPTER XXII. 



When icicles hang by the wall, 
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, 
And Tom bears logs into the hall, 
And milk comes frozen home in pail. 

Shakspeare. 

To Ellen's sorrow she was pronounced next morning well 
enough to come down stairs ; her aunt averring that " it was 
no use to keep a fire burning up there for nothing." She 
must get up and dress in the cold again ; and winter had 
fairly set in now ; the 19th of December rose clear and keen. 
Ellen looked sighingly at the heap of ashes and the dead 
brands in the fireplace where the bright little fire had blazed 
so cheerfully the evening before. But regrets did not help 
the matter ; and shivering she began to dress as fast as she 
could. Since her illness a basin and pitcher had been brought 
into her room, so the washing at the spout was ended for the 
present ; and though the basin had no place but a chair and 
the pitcher must stand on the floor, Ellen thought herself too 
happy. But how cold it was ! The wind swept past her 
windows giving wintry shakes to the panes of glass, and 
through many an opening in the wooden frame-work of the 
house it came in and saluted Ellen's bare arms and neck. 
She hurried to finish her dressing, and wrapping her double- 
gown over all, went down to the kitchen. It was another 
climate there. A great fire was burning that it quite cheered 
Ellen's heart to look at ; and the air seemed to be full of 
coffee and buckweat cakes ; Ellen almost thought she should 
get enough breakfast by the sense of smell. 

" Ah ! here you are," said Miss Fortune. " What have 
you got that thing on for ?" 

" It was so cold up stairs," said Ellen, drawing up her 
shoulders. The warmth had not got inside of her wrapper 
yet. 



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" Well 'taint cold here ; you'd better pull it off right away. 
I've no notion of people's making themselves tender. You'll 
be warm enough directly. Breakfast '11 warm you." 

Ellen felt almost inclined to quarrel with the breakfast that 
was offered in exchange for her comfortable wrapper ; she 
pulled it off however and sat down without saying anything. 
Mr. Van Brunt put some cakes on her plate. 

"If breakfast's a going to warm you," said he, "make 
haste and get something down ; or drink a cup of coffee ; 
you're as blue as skim milk." 

" Am I ?" said Ellen lauo-hinor ; " I feel blue ; but I can't 
eat such a pile of cakes as that, Mr. Van Brunt." 

As a general thing the meals at Miss Fortune's were silent 
solemnities ; an occasional consultation, or a few questions and 
remarks about farm affairs, being all that ever passed. The 
breakfast this morning was a singular exception to the com- 
mon rule. 

" I am in a regular quandary," said the mistress of the 
house when the meal was about half over. 

Mr. Van Brunt looked up for an instant, and asked " what 
about ?" 

" Why how I am ever going to do to get those apples and 
sausage-meat done. If I go to doing 'em myself I shall 
about get through by spring." 

" Why don't you make a bee ?" said Mr. Van Brunt. 

" Aint enough of either on 'em to make it worth while. I 
aint a going to have all the bother of a bee without some- 
thing to show for't." 

" Turn 'em both into one," suQ-jrested her counsellor, vomv 
on with his breakfast. 

" Both ?" 

" Yes — let 'em pare apples in one room and cut pork in 
t'other." 

" But 1 wonder who ever heard of such a thing before," 
said Miss Fortune, pausing with her cup of coffee half way to 
her lips. Presently, however, it was carried to her mouth, 
drunk off, and set down with an air of determination. 

" I don't care," said she, " if it never was heard of. I'll 
do it for once anyhow. I'm not one of them to care what 
folks say. I'll have it so ! But I won't have 'em to tea, 
mind you ; I'd rather throw apples and all into the fire at 



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once. I'll have but one plague of setting tables, and that. 
I won't have 'em to tea. I'll make it up to 'em in the supper 
though." 

" I'll take care to publish that," said Mr. Van Brunt. 

" Don't you go and do such a thing," said Miss Fortune 
earnestly. " I shall have the whole country on my hands. 
I won't have but just as many on 'em as '11 do what I want 
done ; that'll be as much as I can stand under. Don't you 
whisper a word of it to a living creature. I'll go round and 
ask 'em myself to come Monday evening." 

" Monday evening — then I suppose you'd like to have up 
the sleigh this afternoon. Who's acoming ?" 

" I don't know ; I ha'n't asked 'em yet." 

" They'll every soul come that's asked, that you may de- 
pend ; there aint one on 'em that would miss of it for a dollar." 

Miss Fortune bridled a little at the implied tribute to her 
housekeeping. 

" If I was some folks I Avouldn't let people know I was in 
such a mighty hurry to got a good supper," she observed 
rather scornfully. 

" Humph !" said Mr. Van Brunt ; " I think a good supper 
aint a bad thing ; and I've no objection to folk's knowing it." 

" Pshaw ! I didn't mean you," said Miss Fortune ; " I was 
thinking of those Lawsons, and other folks." 

" Jf you're agoing to ask them to your bee you aint of my 
mind." 

"Well I am though," replied Miss Fortune; "there's a 
good many hands of 'em ; they can turn off a good lot of 
work in an evening ; and they always take care to get me to 
their bees. I may as well get something out of them in re- 
turn if I can." 

" They'll reckon on getting as much as they can out o' 
you, if they come, there's no sort of doubt in my mind. It's 
my belief Mirny Lawson will kill herself some of these days 
upon green corn. She was at home to tea one day last sum- 
mer, and I declare I thought — " 

What Mr. Van Brunt thought he left his hearers to guess. 

" Well, let them kill themselves if they like," said Miss 
Fortune ; " I am sure I am willing ; there'll be enough ; I 
aint agoing to mince matters when once I begin. Now let 
me see. There's five of the Lawsons to begin with — I 



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2TS 



suppose they'll all come ; — Bill Huff, and Jany, that's 
seven ; — " 

" That Bill Huff is as good-natured a fellow as ever broke 
ground," remarked Mr. Van Brunt. " Aint better people in 
the town than them Huffs are.' ? 

" They're well enough," said Miss Fortune. " Seven — and 
the Hitchcocks, there's three of them, that'll make ten, — " 

" Dennison's aint far from there," said Mr. Van Brunt. 
Dan Dennison's a fine hand at a'most anything, in doors or 
out," 

" That's more than you can say for his sister. Cilly Den- 
nison gives herself so many airs it's altogether too much for 
plain country folks. I should like to know what she thinks 
herself. It's a'most too much for my stomach to see her 
flourishing that watch and chain." 

" What's the use of troubling yourself about other people's 
notions ?" said Mr. Van Brunt. " If folks want to take the 
road let 'em have it. That's my way. I am satisfied, pro- 
vided they don't run me over." 

" 'Taint my way then, I'd have you to know," said Miss 
Fortune ; " T despise it ! And 'taint your way neither, Van 
Brunt ; what did you give Tom Larkens a cowhiding for ?" 

" 'Cause he deserved it, if ever a man did," said Mr. Van 
Brunt, quite rousing up ;— "he was treating that little bro- 
ther of his'n in a way a boy shouldn't be treated, and I am 
glad I did it. I gave him notice to quit before I laid a finger 
on him. He warn't doing; nothing to me." 

" And how much good do you suppose it did ?" said . 
Miss Fortune rather scornfully. 

" It did just the good I wanted to do. He has seen fit to 
let little Billy alone ever since." 

" Well I guess I'll let the Dennisons come," said Miss For- 
tune ; " that makes twelve, and you and your mother are 
fourteen. I suppose that man Marshchalk will come dang- 
ling along after the Hitchcocks." 

" To be sure he will ; and his aunt, Miss Janet, will come 
with him most likely." 

" Well — there's no help for it," said Miss Fortune. " That 
makes sixteen." 

14 Will you ask Miss Alice ?" 

* Not I ! she's another of your proud set. I don't want to 



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see anybody that thinks she's going to do me a great favor 
by coming." 

Ellen's lips opened, but wisdom came in time to stop the 
words that were on her tongue. It did not however prevent 
the quick little turn of her head which showed what she 
thought, and the pale cheeks w r ere for a moment bright 
enough. 

" She is, and I don't care who hears it," repeated Miss 
Fortune. " I suppose she'd look as sober as a judge too if 
she saw cider on the table ; they say she won't touch a drop 
ever, and thinks it's wicked ; and if that aint setting oneseli 
up for better than other folks I don't know what is." 

" I saw her paring apples at the Huffs though," said Mr. 
Van Brunt, " and as pleasant as anybody ; but she didn't stay 
to supper." 

" I'd ask Mrs. Vawse if I could get word to her," said 
Miss Fortune, — "but I can never travel up that mountain. If 
I get a sight of Nancy I'll tell her." 

" There she is then," said Mr. Van Brunt, looking towards 
the little window that opened into the shed. And there in- 
deed was the face of Miss Nancy pressed flat against the 
glass, peering into the room. Miss Fortune beckoned to her. 

" That is the most impudent, shameless, outrageous piece 

of . What were you doing at the window?" said she 

as Nancy came in. 

" Looking at you, Miss Fortune," said Nancy coolly. 
" What have you been talking about this great while ? Jf 
there had only been a pane of glass broken I needn't have 
asked." 

" Hold your tongue," said Miss Fortune, " and listen tc 
me." 

"I'll listen, ma'am," said Nancy, "but it's of no use to 
hold my tongue. 1 do try sometimes, but I never could keep 
it long." 

" Have you done ?" 

" I don't know, ma'am," said Nancy, shaking her head ; 
"it's just as it happens." 

" You tell your granny I am going to have a bee here next 
Monday evening, and ask her if she'll come to it." 

Nancy nodded. iS If it's good weather," she added con- 
ditionally. 



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281 



" Stop, Nancy !" said Miss Fortune, " here !" — for Nancy 
was shutting the door behind her. — "As sure as you come 
here Monday night without your grandma you'll go out of 
the house quicker than you come in ; see if you don't !' 

With another gracious nod and smile Nancy departed. 

" Well," said Mr. Van Brunt rising, " I'll despatch this 
business down stairs, and then I'll bring up the sleigh. The 
pickle's ready I suppose." 

" No it aint," said Miss Fortune, " I couldn't make it 
yesterday ; but it's all in the kettle, and I told Sam to make 
a fire down stairs, so you can put it on when you go down. 
The kits are all ready, and the salt and everything else." 

Mr. Van Brunt went down the stairs that led to the lower 
kitchen ; and Miss Fortune, to make up for lost time, set 
about her morning's work with even an uncommon measure 
of activity. Ellen, in consideration of her being still weak, 
was not required to do anything. She sat and looked on, 
keeping out of the way of her bustling aunt as far as it was 
possible ; but Miss Fortune's gyrations were of that charac- 
ter that no one could tell five minutes beforehand what she 
she might consider " in the way." Ellen wished for her quiet 
room again. Mr. Van Brunt's voice sounded down stairs in 
tones of business ; what could he be about ? it must be very 
uncommon business that kept him in the house. Ellen grew 
restless with the desire to go and see, and to change her 
aunt's company for his ; and no sooner was Miss Fortune 
fairly shut up in the buttery at some secret work than Ellen 
gently opened the door at the head of the lower stairs and 
looked down. Mr. Van Brunt was standing at the bottom 
and he looked up. 

" May I come down there Mr. Van Brunt ?" said Ellen 
softly. 

" Come down here ? to be be sure you may ! You may 
always come straight where I am without asking any ques- 
tions." 

Ellen went down. But before she reached the bottom 
stair she stopped with almost a start, and stood fi^d with 
such a horrified face that neither Mr. Van Brunt nor Sam 
Larkens, who was there, could help laughing. 

"What's the matter?" said the former, — "they're al] 
dead enough Miss Ellen ; you needn't be scared." 
8 13* 7 



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Three enormous bogs which had been killed the day before 
greeted Ellen's eyes. They lay in different parts of the 
room, with each a cob in his mouth. A fourth lay stretched 
upon his back on the kitchen table, which was drawn out into 
the middle of the floor. Ellen stood fast on the stair. 

" Have they been killed !" was her first astonished excla- 
mation, to which Sam responded with another burst. 

"Be quiet Sam Larkens," said Mr. Van Brunt. "Yes 
Miss Ellen, they've been killed sure enough." 

" Are these the same pigs I used to see you feeding with 
corn, Mr. Van Brunt?" 

" The identical same ones," replied that gentleman, as 
laying hold of the head of the one on the table and applying 
his long sharp knife with the other hand, he while he was 
speaking severed it neatly and quickly from the trunk. " And 
very fine porkers they are ; I aint ashamed of 'em." 

" And what's going to be done with them now ?" said 
Ellen. 

" I am just going to cut them up and lay them down. 
Bless my heart! you never see nothing of the kind before, 
did you ?" 

" No," said Ellen. What do you mean by ' laying them 
down,' Mr. Van Brunt ?" 

"Why, laying 'em down in salt for pork and hams. You 
want to see the whole operation, don't you ? Well here's a 
seat for you. You'd better fetch that painted coat o'yourn 
and wrap round you, for it aint quite so warm here as up 
stairs ; but it's getting warmer. Sam, just you shut that 
door to, and throw on another log." 

Sam built up as large a fire as could be made under a very 
large kettle that hung in the chimney. When Ellen came 
down in her wrapper she was established close in the chim- 
ney corner ; and then Mr. Van Brunt, not thinking her quite 
safe from the keen currents of air that would find their way 
into the room, despatched Sam for an old buffalo robe that 
lay in the shed This he himself with great care wrapped 
round ^pr, feet and chair and all, and secured it in various 
places with old forks. He declared then she looked for all 
the world like an Indian, except her face ; and in high good 
humor both, he went to cutting up the pork, and Ellen from 
out of her buffalo robe watched him. 



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It was beautifully done. Even Ellen could see that 
although she could not have known if it had been done ill. 
The knife guided by strength and skill seemed to go with the 
greatest ease and certainty just where he wished it ; the 
hams were beautifully trimmed out ; the pieces fashioned 
clean ; no ragged cutting ; and his quick-going knife dis- 
posed of carcass after carcass with admirable neatness and 
celerity. Sam meanwhile arranged the pieces in different 
parcels at his direction, and minded the kettle, in which a 
great boiling and scumming was going on. Ellen was too 
much amused for a while to ask any questions. When the 
cutting up was all done the hams and shoulders were put in 
a cask by themselves and Mr. Van Brunt began to pack down 
the other pieces in the kits, strewing them with an abundance 
of salt. 

" What's the use of putting all that salt with the pork, 
Mr. Van Brunt?" said Ellen. 

" It wouldn't keep good without that ; it would spoil very 
quick." 

" Will the salt make it keep ?" 

" All the year round — as sweet as a nut." 

" I wonder what is the reason of that," said Ellen. " Will 
salt make everything keep good ?" 

" Everything in the world — if it only has enough of it, and 
is kept dry and cool." 

" Are you going to do the hams in the same way ?" 

u No ; — they're to go in that pickle over the fire." 

" In this kettle ? what is in it ?" said Ellen. 

" You must ask Miss Fortune about that ; — sugar and salt 
and saltpetre and molasses, and I don't know what all." 

" And will this make the hams so different from the rest 
of the pork ?" ■ 

" No ; they've got to be smoked after they have laid in 
that for a while." 

" Smoked !" said Ellen ; " how ?" 

" Why ha'n't you been in the smokehouse ? The hams 
has to be taken out of the pickle and hung up there ; and 
then, we make a little fire of oak chips and keep it burning 
night and day." 

" And how long must they stay in the smoke ?" 

" Oh three or four weeks or so.'' 



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"And then they are done?'' 
" Then they are done." 

" How very curious !" said Ellen. " Then it's the smoke 
that gives them that nice taste ? I never knew smoke was 
good for anything before." 

"Ellen!" said the voice of Miss Fortune from the top of 
the stairs, — " come right up here this minute ! you'll catch 
your death !" 

Ellen's countenance fell. 

" There's no sort of fear of that, ma'am," said Mr. Van 
Brunt, quietly, " and Miss Ellen is fastened up so she can't 
get loose ; and I can't let her out just now." 

The upper door was shut again pretty sharply, but that 
was the only audible expression of opinion with which Miss 
Fortune favored them. 

" I guess my leather* curtains keep off the wind, don't 
they ?" said Mr. Van Brunt. 

" Yes indeed they do," said Ellen, " I don't feel a breath ; 
I am as warm as a toast, — too warm almost. How nicely you 
have fixed me up, Mr. Van Brunt." 

" I thought that 'ere old buffalo had done its work," he 
said, " but I'll never say anything is good for nothing 
again. Have vou found out where the apples are yet?" 

" No," said Ellen. 

" Ha'n't Miss Fortune showed you ! Well, it's time you'd 
know. Sam take that little basket and go fill it at the bin ; 
I guess you know where they be, for I believe you put 'em 
there." 

Sam went into the cellar, and presently returned with the 
basket nicely filled. He handed it to Ellen. 

" Are all these for me ?" she said in surprise. 

" Every one on 'em,'^ said Mr. Van Brunt. 

" But I don't like to," said Ellen ; — " what will aunt 
Fortune say ?" 

"She won't say a word," said Mr. Van Brunt; "and don't 
you say a word neither, but whenever you want apples just 
go to the bin and take 'em. / give you leave. It's right at 
the end of the far cellar, at the left hand corner ; there are 
the bins and all sorts of apples in 'em. You've got a pretty 
variety there, ha'n't you ?" 

" O all sorts," said Ellen, — " and what beauties ! and I 



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285 



love apples very much, — red, and yellow, and speckled, and 
green. — What a great monster !" 

" That's a Swar ; that aint as good as most of the others ; 
— those are Seek-no-furthers." 

" Seek-no-further !" said Ellen ; — " what a funny name. 
It ought to be a mighty good apple. / shall seek further at 
any rate. What is this ?" 

" That's as good an apple as you've got in the basket ; 
that's a real Orson pippin ; a very fine kind. I'll fetch you 
some up from home some day though that are better than 
the best of those." 

The pork was all packed ; the kettle was lifted off the 
fire ; Mr. Van Brunt was wiping his hands from the salt. 

" And now I suppose I must go," said Ellen with a little 
sigh. 

" Why / must go," said he, — " so I suppose I may as well 
let you out of your tent first." 

" I have had such a nice time," said Ellen ; " I had got 
so tired of doing nothing up stairs. I am very much obliged 
to you Mr. Van Brunt. But," said she, stopping as she had 
taken up her basket to go, — " aren't you going to put the 
hams in the pickle ?" 

" No," said he laughing, " it must wait to get cold first. 
But you'll make a capital farmer's wife, there's no mis- 
take." 

Ellen blushed, and ran up stairs with her apples. To 
bestow them safely in her closet was her first care ; the rest 
of the morning was spent in increasing weariness and listless- 
ness. She had brought down her little hymn-book thinking 
to amuse herself with learning a hymn, but it would not do ; 
eyes and head both refused their part of the work ; and 
when at last Mr. Van Brunt came in to a late dinner, he found 
Ellen seated flat on the hearth before the fire, her right arm 
curled round upon the hard wooden bottom of one of the 
chairs, and her head pillowed upon that, fast asleep. 

" Bless my soul !" said Mr. Van Brunt, " what's become of 
that 'ere rocking-cheer ?" 

"It's up stairs I suppose. You can go fetch it if you've 
a mind to," answered Miss Fortune dryly enough. 

He did so immediately ; and Ellen barely waked up to fee] 
herself lifted from the floor and placed in the friendly rocking- 



286 THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 

, — , 

\ 

chair ; Mr. Van Brunt remarking at the same time that " it 
might be well enough to let well folks lie on the floor and 
sleep on cheers, but cushions warn't a bit too soft for sick 
ones." 

Among the cushions Ellen went to sleep again with a much 
better prospect of rest ; and either sleeping or dozing passed 
away the time for a good while. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



O that I were an Orange tree, 

That busy plant ! 
Then should I always laden be, 

And never want 
Some fruit for bim thatdresseth me. 

G. Herbert. 

She was thoroughly roused at last by the slamming of the 
house-door after her aunt. She and Mr. Van Brunt had gone 
forth on their sleighing expedition, and Ellen waked to find 
herself quite alone. 

She could not long have doubted that her aunt was away, 
even if she had not caught a glimpse of her bonnet going out 
of the shed door, — the stillness was so uncommon. No such 
quiet could be with Miss Fortune anywhere about the pre- 
mises. The old grandmother must have been abed and asleep 
too, for a cricket under the hearth and the wood fire in the 
chimney had it all to themselves, and made the only sounds 
that were heard ; the first singing out every now and then in 
a very contented and cheerful style, and the latter giving oc- 
casional little snaps and sparks that just served to make one 
take notice how very quietly and steadily it was burning. 

Miss Fortune had left the room put up in the last extreme 
of neatness. Not a speck of dust could be supposed to lie 
on the shining painted floor ; the back of every chair was in 
its place against the wall. The very hearth-stones shone 
and the heads of the large iron nails in the floor were polished 
to steel. Ellen sat a while listening to the soothing chirrup 
of the cricket and the pleasant crackling of the flames. It 
was a fine cold winter's day. The two little windows at the 
far end of the kitchen looked out upon an expanse of snow ; 
and the large lilac bush that grew close by the wall, moved 
lightly by the wind, drew its icy fingers over the panes of 



288 



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glass. Wintry it was without ; but that made the warmth 
and comfort within seem all the more. Ellen would have 
enjoyed it very much if she had had any one to talk to ; as it 
was she felt rather lonely and sad. She had begun to learn 
a hymn ; but it had set her off upon a long train of thought ; 
and with her head resting on her hand, her fingers pressed 
into her cheek, the other hand with the hymn-book lying list- 
lessly in her lap, and eyes staring into the fire, she was sitting 
the very picture of meditation when the door opened and 
Alice Humphreys came in. Ellen started up. 

" I'm so glad to see you ! I'm all alone." 

" Left alone, are you ?" said Alice, as Ellen's warm lips 
were pressed again and again to her cold cheeks. 

" Yes, aunt Fortune's gone out. Come and sit down here 
in the rocking-chair. How cold you are. do you know 
she is going to have a great bee here Monday evening ? What 
is a bee f" 

Alice smiled. " Why," said she, " when people here in 
the country have so much of any kind of work to do that their 
own hands are not enough for it they send and call in their 
neighbors to help them, — that's a bee. A large party in the 
course of a long evening can do a great deal." 

"But why do they call it a bee f 

" I don't know, unless they mean to be like a hive of bees 
for the time. ' As busy as a bee,' you know." 

" Then they ought to call it a hive and not a bee I should 
think. Aunt Fortune is going to ask sixteen people. I wish 
you were coming !" 

" How do you know but I am ?" 

"01 know you aren't. Aunt Fortune isn't going to ask 
you." 

" You are sure of that, are you ?" 

" Yes, I wish I wasn't. how she vexed me this morning 
by something she said !" 

" You mustn't get vexed so easily my child. Don't let 
every little untoward thing roughen your temper." 

" But I couldn't help it, dear Miss Alice ; it was about you. 
I don't know whether I ought to tell you ; but I don't think 
you'll mind it, and I know it isn't true. She said she didn't 
want you to come because you were one of the proud set." 

" And what did you say ?" 



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" Nothing. I had it just on the end of my tongue to say, 
'It's no such thing ;' but I didn't say it." 

" I am glad you were so wise. Dear Ellen, that is nothing 
to be vexed about. If it were true, indeed, you might be 
sorry. I trust Miss Fortune is mistaken. I shall try and 
find some way to make her change her mind. I am glad you 
told me." 

" I am so glad you are come, dear Alice !" said Ellen again. 
" I wish I could have you always !" And the long, very close 
pressure of her two arms about her friend said as much. 
There was a long pause. The cheek of Alice rested on Ellen's 
head which nestled against her ; both were busily thinking ; 
but neither spoke ; and the cricket chirped and the flames 
crackled without being listened to. 

" Miss Alice," said Ellen after a long time, — " I wish you 
would talk over a hymn with me." 

" How do you mean my dear ?" said Alice rousing herself. 

" I mean, read it over and explain it. Mamma used to do 
it sometimes. I have been thinking a great deal about her 
to-day ; and I think I'm very different from what I ought 
to be. I wish you would talk to me and make me better Miss 
Alice." 

Alice pressed an earnest kiss upon the tearful little face 
that was uplifted to her, and presently said, 

"I am afraid I shall be a poor substitute for your mother 
Ellen. What hymn shall we take ?" 

" Any one — this one if you like. Mamma likes it very 
much. I was looking it over to-day." 

A charge to keep I have — 

A God to glorify ; 
A never-dying soul to save, 

And fit it for the sky. 

Alice read the first line and paused. 

" There now," said Ellen, — " what is a charge V 1 

" Don't you know that ?" 

" I think I do, but I wish you would tell me." 

" Try to tell me first." 

" Isn't it something that is given one to do ? — I don't know 
exactly." 

" It is something given one in trust, to be done or taken 
care of. I remember very well once when I was about your 



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age my mother had occasion to go out for half an hour, and 
she left me in charge of my little baby sister ; she gave me a 
charge not to let anything disturb her while she was away 
and to keep her asleep if I could. And I remember how I 
kept my charge too. I was not to take her out of the cradle, 
but I sat beside her the whole time ; I would not suffer a fly 
to light on her little fair cheek ; I scarcely took my eyes from 
her ; I made John keep pussy at a distance ; and whenever 
one of the little round dimpled arms was thrown out upon the 
coverlet I carefully drew something over it again." 

" Is she dead ?" said Ellen timidly, her eyes watering in 
sympathy with Alice's. 

"She is dead my dear; she died before we left England." 

" I understand what a charge is," said Ellen after a little ; 
" but what is this charge the hymn speaks of ? What charge 
have I to keep ?" 

" The hymn goes on to tell you. The next line gives you 
part of it. 'A God to glorify.' " 

"To glorify?" said Ellen doubtfully. 

" Yes — that is to honor, — to give him all the honor that 
belongs to him." 

" But can / honor Him ?" 

" Most certainly ; either honor or dishonor ; you cannot 
help doing one." 

" I !" said Ellen again. 

" Must not your behavior speak either well or ill for the 
mother who has brought you up ?" 
" Yes — I know that." 

" Very well ; when a child of God lives as he ought to do, 
people cannot help having high and noble thoughts of that 
glorious One whom he serves, and of that perfect law he 
obeys. Little as they may love the ways of religion, in their 
own secret hearts they cannot help confessing that there is 
a God and that they ought to serve him. But a worldling, 
and still more an unfaithful Christian, just helps people to 
forget there is such a Being, and makes them think either 
that religion is a sham, or that they may safely go on de- 
spising it. I have heard it said, Ellen, that Christians are 
the only Bible some people ever read ; and it is true ; all they 
know of religion is what they get from the lives of its pro- 
fessors ; and ! wore the world but full of the light kind of 



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291 



example, the kingdom of darkness could not stand. ' Arise, 
shine !' is a word that every Christian ought to take home." 

** But how can I shine 1" asked Ellen. 

" My dear Ellen ! — in the faithful, patient, self-denying 
performance of every duty as it comes to hand, — ' whatsoever 
thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' " 

" It is very little that / can do," said Ellen. 

" Perhaps more than you think, but never mind that. 
All are not great stars in the church ; you may be only a 
little rushlight ; — see you burn Avell !" 

" I remember," said Ellen, musing, — " mamma once told 
me when I was going somewhere, that people would think 
strangely of her if I didn't behave well." 

" Certainly. Why Ellen I formed an opinion of her very 
soon after I knew you." 

" Did you !" said Ellen, with a wonderfully brightened 
face, — " what was it ? was it a-ood ? ah ! do tell me !'' 

" I am not quite sure of the wisdom of that," said Alice, 
smiling ; " you might take home the praise that is justly 
her right and not yours." 

" no indeed," said Ellen, " I had rather she should have 
it than I. Please tell me what you thought of her, dear 
Alice, — I know it was good, at any rate." 

" Well I will tell you,"' said Alice, — " at all risks. I thought 
your mother was a lady, from the honorable notions she 
had given you ; and from your ready obedience to her, which 
was evidently the obedience of love, I judged she had been 
a good mother in the true sense of the term. I thought she 
must be a refined and cultivated person from the manner of 
your speech and behavior ; and 1 was sure she was a Chris- 
tian because she had taught you the truth, and evidently had 
tried to lead you in it." 

The quivering face of delight with which Ellen began to 
listen gave way, long before Alice had done, to a burst of 
tears. 

" It makes me so glad to hear you say that," she said. 

"The praise of it is your mother's, you know r , Ellen." 

" I know it, — but you make me so glad !" And hiding 
her face in Alice's lap she fairly sobbed. 

" You understand now, don't you, how Christians may 
honor or dishonor their Heavenly Father?" 



292 



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" Yes, I do ; but it makes me afraid to think of it." 

"Afraid? it ought rather to make you glad. It is a 
great honor and happiness for us to be permitted to honor 
him. — 

" A never-dying soul to sare, 
And fit it for the sky." 

" Yes — that is the great duty you owe yourself. never 
forget it dear Ellen ! And whatever would hinder you, have 
nothing to do with it. ' What shall it profit a man though 
he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.' " 

" To serve the present age, 
My calling to fulfill-" 

" What is ' the present age ?' " said Ellen. 

" All the people who are living in the world at this time." 

" But dear Alice ! — what can I do to the present age ?" 

"Nothing to the most part of them certainly; and yet, 
dear Ellen, if your little rushlight shines well there is just so 
much the less darkness in the world, — though perhaps you 
light only a very little corner. Every Christian is a blessing 
to the world ; another grain of salt to go towards sweetening 
and saving the mass." 

" That is very pleasant to think of," said Ellen musing. 

" O if we were but full of love to our Saviour, how plea- 
sant it would be to do anything for him ! how many ways we 
should find of honoring him by doing good." 

" I wish you would tell me some of the ways that I can do 
it," said Ellen. 

" You will find them fast enough if you seek them, Ellen. 
No one is so poor or so young but he has one talent at least 
to use for God." 

" I wish 1 knew what mine is," said Ellen. 

" Is your daily example as perfect as it can be ?" 

Ellen was silent and shook her head. 

" Christ pleased not himself, and went about doing good ; 
and he said, ' If any man serve me, let him follow me! Re- 
member that. Perhaps your aunt is unreasonable and un- 
kind ; — see with how much patience and perfect sweetness 
of temper you can bear and forbear ; see if you cannot win 



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293 



her over by untiring gentleness, obedience, and meekness 
Is there no improvement to be made here ?" 

" Oh me, yes !" answered Ellen with a sigh. 

" Then your old grandmother. Can you do nothing to 
cheer her life in her old age and helplessness ? can't you 
find some way of giving her pleasure ? some way of amusing 
a long tedious hour now and then ?" 

Ellen looked very grave ; in her inmost heart she knew this 
was a duty she shrank from. 

" He ' went about doing good.' Keep that in mind. A 
kind word spoken, — a little thing done to smooth the way of 
one or lighten the load of another, — teaching those who need 
teaching, — entreating those who are walking in the wrong 
way, — ! my child, there is work enough !" 

" To serve the present age, 
My calling to fulfill, 
O may it all my powers engage 
To do my Maker's will. 

Arm me with jealous care, 

As in thy sight to live ; 
And O ! thy servant, Lord, prepare 

A strict account to give." 

€< An account of what ?" said Ellen. 

" You know what an account is. If I give Thomas a dol- 
lar to spend for me at Carra-carra, I expect he will give me 
an exact account when he comes back, what he has done with 
every shilling of it. So must we give an account of what we 
have done with everything our Lord has committed to our 
care, — our hands, our tongues, our time, our minds, our in- 
fluence ; how much we have honored him, how much good 
we have done to others, how fast and how far we have grown 
holy and fit for heaven." 

" It almost frightens me to hear you talk, Miss Alice." 

" Not frighten, dear Ellen, — that is not the word ; sober we 
ought to be ; — mindful to do nothing we shall not wish to 
remember in the great day of account. Do you recollect how 
that day is described ? Where is your Bible ?" 

She opened to the 20th chapter of the Revelation. 

"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, 
from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away ; and there 
was found no place for them. 



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" And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ; 
and the books were opened ; and another book was opened, 
which is the book of life : and the dead were judged out of 
those things which were written in the books, according to 
their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in 
it ; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in 
them ; and they were judged every man according to their 
works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, 
This is the second death. 

" And whosoever was not found written in the book of 
life was cast into the lake of fire.'' 

Ellen shivered. " That is dreadful !" she said. 

" It will be a dreadful day to all but those whose names 
are written in the Lamb's book of life ; — not dreadful to them, 
dear Ellen." 

" But how shall I be sure, dear Alice, that my name is 
written there? and I can't be happy if I am not sure." 

" My dear child," said Alice tenderly, as Ellen's anxious 
face and glistening eyes were raised to hers, " if you love 
Jesus Christ you may know you are his child, and none shall 
pluck you out of his hand." 

" But how can I tell whether I do love him really ? some- 
times I think I do, and then again sometimes I am afraid I 
don't at all." 

Alice answered in the words of Christ ; — " He that hath 
my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth 
me." 

" Oh I don't keep his commandments !" said Ellen, the 
tears running down her cheeks. 

" Perfectly, none of us do. But dear Ellen that is not the 
question. Is it your heart's desire and effort to keep them ? 
Are you grieved when you fail ? There is the point. You 
cannot love Christ without loving to please him." 

Ellen rose and putting both arms round Alice's neck laid 
her head there, as her manner sometimes was, tears flowing 
fast. 

" I sometimes think I do love him a little," she said, " but 
I do so many wrong things. But he will teach me to love 
him if I ask him, won't he, dear Alice ?" 

" Indeed he will, dear Ellen," said Alice, folding her arms 
round her little adopted sister, — " indeed he will. He has 



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295 



promised that. Remember what he told somebody who was 
almost in despair, — ' Fear not ; only believe.' " 

Alice's neck was wet with Ellen's tears ; and after they 
had ceased to flow her arms kept their hold and her head its 
resting-place on Alice's shoulder for some time. It was 
necessary at last for Alice to leave her. 

Ellen waited till the sound of her horse's footsteps died 
away on the road ; and. then sinking on her knees beside her 
rocking-chair she poured forth her Avhole heart in prayers and 
tears. She confessed many a fault and short-coming that 
none knew but herself ; and most earnestly besought help that 
"her little rushlight might shine bright." Prayer was to 
little Ellen what it is to all that know it, — the satisfying of 
doubt, the soothing of care, the quieting of trouble. She had 
knelt down very uneasy ; but she knew that God has pro- 
mised to be the hearer of prayer, and she rose up very com- 
forted, her mind fixing on those most sw T eet words Alice had 
brought to her memory, — "Fear not — only believe." When 
Miss Fortune returned Ellen was quietly asleep again in her 
rocking-chair, with a face very pale but calm as an evening 
sunbeam. 

" Well I declare if that child aint sleeping her life away !" 
said Miss Fortune. " She's slept this whole blessed fore- 
noon ; I suppose she'll want to be alive and dancing the 
whole night to pay for it." 

" I can tell you what she'll want a sight more," said Mr. 
Van Brunt, who had followed her in ; it must have been to 
see about Ellen, for he was never known to do such a thing 
before or since ; — " I'll tell you what she'll want, and that's a 
right hot supper. She eat as nigh as possible nothing at all 
this noon. Ihere aint much danger of her dancing a hole in 
your floor this some time." 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



la supper ready, the house trimmed, rushes strewed, cobwebs swept t 

Taming or the Shrew. 

Great preparations were making all Saturday and Mon- 
day for the expected gathering. From morning till night 
Miss Fortune was in a perpetual bustle. The great oven was 
heated no less than three several times on Saturday alone. 
Ellen could hear the breaking of eggs in the buttery, and the 
sound of beating or whisking for a long time together ; and 
then Miss Fortune would come out with floury hands, and 
plates of empty egg-shells made their appearance. But 
Ellen saw no more. Whenever the coals were swept out of 
the oven and Miss Fortune had made sure that the heat was 
just right for her purposes, Ellen was sent out of the way, 
and when she got back there was nothing to be seen but the 
fast-shut oven door. It was just the same when the dishes 
in all their perfection were to come out of the oven again. 
The utmost Ellen was permitted to see was the napkin cover- 
ing some stray cake or pie that by chance had to pass through 
the kitchen where she was. 

As she could neither help nor look on, the day passed 
rather wearily. She tried studying ; a very little she found 
was enough to satisfy both mind and body in their present 
state. She longed to go out again and see how the snow 
looked, but a fierce wind all the fore part of the day made it 
unfit for her. Towards the middle of the afternoon she saw 
with joy that it had lulled, and though very cold, was so 
bright and calm that she might venture. She had eagerly 
opened the kitchen door to go up and get ready, when a 
long weary yawn from her old grandmother made her look 
back. The old lady had laid her knitting in her lap and bent 
her face down to her hand, which she was rubbing across her 



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brow as if to clear away the tired feeling- that had settled 
there. Ellen's conscience instantly brought up Alice's 
words, — " Can't you do something to pass away a tedious 
hour now and then ?" The first feeling was of vexed regret 
that they should have come into her head at that moment ; 
then conscience said that was very selfish. There was a 
struggle. Ellen stood with the door in her hand, unable to 
go out or come in. But not long. As the words came back 
upon her memory, — " A charge to keep I have," — her mind 
was made up ; after one moment's prayer for help and for- 
giveness she shut the door, came back to the fireplace, and 
spoke in a cheerful tone. 

" Grandma, wouldn't you like to have me read something 
to you ?" 

" Read !" answered the old lady," " Laws a me ! / don't 
read nothing deary." 

" But wouldn't you like to have me read to you, grandma ?" 

The old lady in answer to this laid down her knitting, 
folded both arms round Ellen, and kissing her a great many 
times declared she should like anything that came out of 
that sweet little mouth. As soon as she was set free Ellen 
brought her Bible, sat down close beside her, and read chap- 
ter after chapter; rewarded even then by seeing that though 
her grandmother said nothing she was listening with fixed 
attention, bending down over her knitting; as if in earnest care 
to catch every word. And when at last she stopped, warned 
by certain noises down stairs that her aunt would presently 
be bustling in, the old lady again hugged her close to her 
bosom, kissing her forehead and cheeks and lips, and de- 
claring that she was " a great deal sweeter than any sugar- 
plums ;" and Ellen was very much surprised to feel her face 
wet with a tear from her grandmother's cheek. Hastily kiss- 
ing her again (for the first time in her life) she ran out of 
the room, her own tears starting and her heart swelling big. 
" ! how much pleasure," she thought, " I might have given 
my poor grandma, and how I have let her alone all this 
while ! How wrong I have been. But it sha'n't be so in 
future !" 

It was not quite sundown, and Ellen thought she might 
yet have two or three minutes in the open air. So she 
wrapped up very warm and went out to the chip yard. 
14 



298 



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Ellen's heart was very light ; she had just been fulfilling 
a duty that cost her a little self-denial, and the reward had 
already come ; and now it seemed to her that she had never 
seen anything so perfectly beautiful as the scene before her ; — 
the brilliant snow that lay in a thick carpet over all the fields 
and hills, and the pale streaks of sunlight stretching across it 
between the long shadows that reached now from the barn 
to the house. One moment the light tinted the snow-capped 
fences and whitened barn-roofs ; then the lights and the 
shadows vanished together, and it was all one cold dazzling 
white. how glorious !— Ellen almost shouted to herself. 
It was too cold to stand still ; she ran to the barn-yard to 
see the cows milked. There they were, — all her old friends, — 
Streaky and Dolly and Jane and Sukey and Betty Flynn, — 
sleek and contented ; winter and summer were all the same 
to them. And Mr. Van Brunt was very glad to see her 
there again, and Sam Larkens and Johnny Low looked as if 
they were too, and Pollen told them with great truth she was 
very glad indeed to be there ; and then she went in to sup- 
per with Mr.. Van Brunt and an amazing appetite. 

That was Saturday. Sunday passed quietly, though Ellen 
could not help suspecting it was not entirely a day of rest to 
her aunt ; there was a savory smell of cooking in the morn- 
ing which nothing that came on table by any means ac- 
counted for, and Miss Fortune was scarcely to be seen the 
whole day. 

With Monday morning began a grand bustle, and Ellen 
was well enough now to come in for her share. The kitchen, 
parlor, hall, shed, and lower kitchen, must all be thoroughly 
swept and dusted ; this was given to her, and a morning's 
work pretty near she found it. Then she had to rub bright all 
the brass handles of the doors, and the big brass andirons in 
the parlor, and the brass candlesticks on the parlor mantle- 
piece. When at last she had got through and came to the 
fire to warm herself, she found her grandmother lamenting 
that her snuff-box was empty, and asking her daughter to 
fill it for her. 

"0 I can't be bothered to be running up stairs to fill snuff- 
boxes !" answered that lady ; "you'll have to wait." 

"I'll get it grandma," said Ellen, "if you'll tell me 
where." 



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299 



" Sit down and be quiet !" said Miss Fortune. " You go 
into my room just when I bid you, and not till then." 

Ellen sat down. But no sooner was Miss Fortune hid in 
the buttery than the old lady beckoned her to her side, and 
nodding her head a great many times, gave her the box, 
saying softly, 

" You can run up now, she won't see you, deary. It's in 
a jar in the closet. Now's the time." 

Ellen could not bear to say no. She hesitated a minute, 
and then boldly opened the buttery door. 

" Keep out ! — what do you want ?" 

" She wanted me to go for the snuff," said Ellen in a 
whisper ; " please do let me — I won't look at anything nor 
touch anything, but just get the snuff." 

With an impatient gesture her aunt snatched the box from 
her hand, pushed Ellen out of the buttery and shut the door. 
The old lady kissed and fondled her as if she had done what 
she had only tried to do ; smoothed down her hair, praising 
its beauty, and whispered, 

* Never mind deary, — you'll read to grandma, won't you ?" 

It cost Ellen no effort now. With the beginning of kind 
offices to her poor old parent, kind feeling had sprung up 
fast ; instead of disliking and shunning she had begun to love 
her. 

There was no dinner for any one this day. Mr. and Mrs. 
Van Brunt came to an early tea ; after which Ellen was sent to 
dress herself, and Mr. Van Brunt to get some pieces of board 
for the meat-choppers. He came back presently with an 
armful of square bits of wood ; and sitting down before the 
fire began to whittle the rough sawn ends over the hearth. 
His mother grew nervous. Miss Fortune bore it as she 
would have borne it from no one else, but vexation was 
gathering in her breast for the first occasion. Presently 
Ellen's voice was heard singing down the stairs. 

" I'd give something to stop that child's pipe !" said Miss 
Fortune ; " she's eternally singing the same tiling over and 
over — something about ' a charge to keep ' — I'd a good no- 
tion to give her a charge to keep this morning ; it would have 
been to hold her tongue." 

" That would have been a public loss, / think," said Mr. 
Van Brunt gravely. 



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"Well you are making a precious litter!'' said the lady, 
turning short upon him. 

" Never mind," said he in the same tone, — " it's nothing but 
what the fire'll burn up anyhow; — don't worry yourself 
about it." 

Just as Ellen came in, so did Nancy by the other door. 
"What are you here for?" said Miss Fortune with an 
ireful face. 

V Oh ! — Come to see the folks and get some peaches," 
said Nancy ; — " come to help along, to be sure." 
" Aint your grandma coming ?" 

" No ma'am, she aint. I knew she wouldn't be of much 
use, so I thought I wouldn't ask her." 

Miss Fortune immediately ordered her out. Half laughing, 
half serious, Nancy tried to keep her ground, but Miss For- 
tune was in no mood to hear parleying. She laid violent 
hands on the passive Nancy, and between pulling and push- 
ing at last got her out and shut the door. Her next sudden 
move was to haul off her mother to bed. Ellen looked her 
sorrow at this, and Mr. Van Brunt whistled Azs thoughts ; but 
that either made nothing, or made Miss Fortune more deter- 
mined. Off she went with her old mother under her arm. 
While she was gone Ellen brought the broom to sweep up 
the hearth, but Mr. Van Brunt would not let her. 

" No," said he, — " it's more than you nor I can do. You 
know," said he with a sly look, " we might sweep up the 
shavings into the wrong corner !" 

This entirely overset Ellen's gravity, and unluckily she 
could not get it back again, even though warned by Mrs. 
Van Brunt that her aunt was coming. Trying only made it 
worse, and Miss Fortune's entrance was but the signal for a 
fresh burst of hearty merriment. What she was laughing at 
was of course instantly asked, in no pleased tone of voice. 
Ellen could not tell ; and her silence and blushing only made 
her aunt more curious. 

f* Come, leave bothering her," said Mr. Van Brunt at last, 
" she was only laughing at some of my nonsense, and she 
won't tell on me." 

" Will you swear to that ?" said the lady sharply. 

" Humph ! — no, I won't swear ; unless you will go before 
a magistrate with m€ ; — but it is true." 



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301 



" I wonder if you think I am as easy blinded as all that 
comes to !" said Miss Fortune scornfully. 

And Ellen saw that her aunt's displeasure was all gathered 
upon her for the evening. She was thinking of Alice's words 
and trying to arm herself with patience and gentleness, when 
the door opened, and in walked Nancy as demurely as if 
nobody had ever seen her before. 

" Miss Fortune, granny sent me to tell you she is sorry she 
can't come to-night — she don't think it would do for her to 
be out so late, — she's a little touch of the rheumatics, she 



" Very well," said Miss Fortune. " Now clear out !" 
" You had better not say so Miss Fortune — I'll do as much 
for you as any two of the rest, — see if I don't !" 

" I don't care — if you did as much as fifty !" said Miss 
Fortune impatiently. " I won't have you here ; so go, or I'll 
give you something to help you along." 

Nancy saw she had no chance with Miss Fortune in her 
present humor, and went quietly out. A little while after 
Ellen was standing at the window from which through the 
shed window she had a view of the chip yard, and there she 
saw Nancy lingering still, walking round and round in a cir- 
cle, and kicking the snow with her feet in a discontented 
fashion. 

" I am very glad she isn't going to be here," thought 
Ellen. " But poor thing ! I dare say she is very much dis- 
appointed. And how sorry she will feel going back all that 
long long way home ! — what if I should get her leave to stay ? 
wouldn't it be a fine way of returning good for evil ? — But oh 
dear! I don't want her here ! — But that's no matter — " 

The next minute Mr. Van Brunt was half startled by 
Ellen's hand on his shoulder, and the softest of whispers in 
his ear. He looked up, very much surprised. 

" Why, do you want her ?" said he, likewise in a low tone. 
No, ' said Ellen, " but I know 1 should feel very sorry if 
I was in her place." 

Mr. Van Brunt whistle i quietly to himself. " Well I" said 
he, "you are a good-naiured piece." 

" Miss Fortune," said he presently, " if that mischievous 
girl comes in again I recommend you to let her stay." 

" Why ?" 



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" 'Cause it's true what she said — she'll do you as much 
good as half a dozen. She'll behave herself this evening, I'll 
engage, or if she don't I'll make her." 

" She's too impudent to live ! But I don't care — her 
grandmother is another sort, — but I guess she is gone by this 
time." 

Ellen waited only till her aunt's back was turned. She 
slipped down stairs and out at the kitchen door, and ran up 
the slope to the fence of the chip-yard. 

" Nancy — Nancy !" 

"What ?" said Nancy, wheeling about. 

" If you go in now I guess aunt Fortune will let you stay." 

" What makes you think so ?" said the other surlily. 

" 'Cause Mr. Van Brunt was speaking to her about it. Go 
in and you'll see.'' 

Nancy looked doubtfully at Ellen's face, and then ran has- 
tily in. More slowly Ellen w r ent back by the way she came. 
When she reached the upper kitchen she found Nancy as 
busy as possible, — as much at home already as if she had 
been there all day ; helping to set the table in the hall, and 
going to and fro betw r een that and the buttery with an im- 
portant face. Ellen w r as not suffered to help, nor even to 
stand and see w T hat w r as doing ; so she sat dowm in the corner 
by her old friend Mrs. Van Brunt, and with her head in her 
lap watched by the fire-light the busy figures that went back 
and forward, and Mr. Van Brunt who still sat working at his 
bits of board. There w r ere pleasant thoughts in Ellen's head 
that kept the dancing blaze company. Mr. Van Brunt once 
looked up and asked her what she was smiling at ; the smile 
brightened at his question, but he got no more answer. 

At last the supper was all set out in the hall so that it 
could very easily be brought into the parlor when the time 
came ; the waiter with the best cups and saucers, which 
always stood covered with a napkin on the table in the front 
room, was carried away ; the great pile of wood in the parlor 
fire-place, built ever since morning, was kindled ; all was in 
apple-pie order, and nothing was left but to sweep up the 
shavings that Mr. Van Brunt had made. This was done ; and 
then Nancy seized hold of Ellen. 

" Come along," said she, pulling her to the window, — 
" come along and let us w r atch the folks come in." 



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303 



*' But it isn't time for them to be here yet," said Ellen ; 
•* the fire is only just burning." 

" Fiddle-de-dee ! they won't wait for the fire to burn, I 
can tell you. They'll be along directly, some of them. I 
wonder what Miss Fortune is thinking of, — that fire had 
ought to have been burning this long time ago, — but they 
won't set to work till they all get here, that's one thing. Do 
you know what's going to be for supper?" 

" No." 

•''Not a bit?" 
« No." 

" Aint that funny ! Then I'm better off than you. I say, 
Ellen, any one would think I was Miss Fortune's niece and 
you was somebody else, wouldn't they ? Goodness ! I'm glad 
I aint. I am going to make part of the supper myself, — 
what do you think of that ? Miss Fortune always has grand 
suppers — when she has 'em at all ; 'taint very often, that's 
one thing. I wish she'd have a bee every week, I know, and 
let me come and help. Hark! — didn't I tell you? there's 
somebody coming this minute ; don't you hear the sleigh- 
bells ? I'll tell you who it is now ; it's the Lawsons ; you 
see if it aint. It's good it's such a bright night — we can see 
'em first-rate. There — here they come — just as I told you 
— here's Mirny Lawson the first one — if there's anybody I 
do despise it's Mirny Lawson." 

" Hush !" said Ellen. The door opened and the lady her- 
self walked in, followed by three others — large tall women, 
muffled from head to foot against the cold. The quiet kitchen 
was speedily changed into a scene of bustle. Loud talking 
and laughing — a vast deal of unrobing — pushing back and 
pulling up chairs on the hearth — and Nancy and Ellen run- 
ning in and out of the room with countless wrappers, cloaks, 
shawls, comforters, hoods, mittens, and moccasins. 

" What a precious muss it will be to get 'em all their own 
things when they come to go away again," said Nancy. 
" Throw 'em all down there Ellen, in that heap. Now come 
quick — somebody else '11 be here directly." 

"Which is Miss Mirny?" said Ellen. 

" That big ugly woman in the purple frock. The one next 
her is Kitty — the black-haired one is Mary, and 'tother is 
Fanny. Ugh ! don't look a.* 'em ; I can't bear 'em." 



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WORLD. 



"Why?" 

" 'Cause I don't, I can tell you ; reason good. They are 
as stingy as they can live. Their way is to get as much as 
they can out of other folks, and let other folks get as little 
as they can out of them. I know 'em. Just watch that 
purple frock when it comes to the eating. There's Mr. Bob." 

" Mr. who ?" 

" Bob — Bob Lawson. He's a precious small young man, 
for such a big one. There — go take his hat. Miss Fortune," 
said Nancy coming forward, " mayn't the gentlemen take 
care of their own things in the stoop, or must the young 
ladies wait upon them too ? 'tother room won't hold everything 
neither." 

This speech raised a general laugh, in the midst of which 
Mr. Bob carried his own hat and cloak into the shed as 
desired. Before Nancy had done chuckling came another 
arrival ; a tall lank gentleman, with one of those unhappy - 
shaped faces that are very broad at the eyes and very narrow 
across the chops, and having a particularly grave and duk 
expression. He was welcomed with such a shout of mingled 
laughter, greeting, and jesting, that the room was in a com- 
plete hurly-burly ; and a plain-looking stout elderly lady, 
who had come in just behind him, was suffered to stand un- 
noticed. 

" It's Miss Janet," whispered Nancy, — Mr. Marshchalk's 
aunt. Nobody wants to see her here ; she's one of your pious 
kind, and that's a kind your aunt don't take to." 

Instantly Ellen was at her side, offering gently to relieve 
her of hood and cloak, and with a tap on his arm drawing 
Mr. Van Brunt's attention to the neglected person. 

Quite touched by the respectful politeness of her manner, 
the old lady inquired of Miss Fortune as Ellen went off with 
a load of mufflers, " who was that sweet little thing ?" 

" It's a kind of sweetmeats that is kept for company, Miss 
Janet," replied Miss Fortune with a darkened brow. 

" She's too good for every-day use, that's a fact," re- 
marked Mr. Van Brunt. 

Miss Fortune colored and tossed her head, and the com- 
pan}^ were for a moment still with surprise. Another arrival 
set them agoing again. 

" Here come the Hitchcocks, Ellen," said Nancy. " Walk 



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in Miss Mary — walk in Miss Jenny — Mr. Marshchalk has been 
here this great while." 

Miss Mary Hitchcock was in nothing remarkable. Miss 
Jenny when her wrappers were taken off showed a neat little 
round figure, and a round face of very bright and good- 
humored expression. It fastened Ellen's eye, till Nancy 
whispered her to look at Mr. Juniper Hitchcock, and that young 
gentelman entered dressed in the last style of elegance. His 
hair was arranged in a faultless manner — unless perhaps it 
had a little too much of the tallow candle ; for when he had 
sat for a while before the fire it had somewhat the look of 
being excessively wet with perspiration. His boots were as 
shiny as his hair ; his waistcoat was of a startling pattern ; 
his pantaloons were very tightly strapped down ; and at the 
end of a showy watch-riband hung some showy seals. 

The kitchen was now one buzz of talk and good-humor. 
Ellen stood half smiling herself to see the universal smile, 
when Nancy twitched her. 

" Here's more coming — Cilly Denison, I guess — no, it's 
too tall ; — who is it ?" 

But Ellen flung open the door with a half-uttered scream 
and threw herself into the arms of Alice, and then led her 
in ; her face full of such extreme joy that it was perhaps one 
reason why her aunt's wore a very doubtful air as she came 
forward. That could not stand however against the grace- 
ful politeness and pleasantness of Alice's greeting. Miss 
Fortune's brow smoothed, her voice cleared, she told Miss 
Humphreys she was very welcome, and she meant it. Cling- 
ing close to her friend as she went from one to another, 
Ellen was delighted to see that every one echoed the wel- 
come. Every face brightened at meeting hers, every eye 
softened, and Jenny Hitchcock even threw her arms round 
Alice and kissed her. 

Ellen left now the window to Nancy and stood fast by her 
adopted sister, with a face of satisfaction it was pleasant to 
see, watching her very lips as they moved. Soon the door 
opened again, and various voices hailed the new-comer as 
"Jane," " Jany," and "Jane Huff." She was a decidedly 
plain-looking country girl, but when she came near Ellen 
saw a sober sensible face and a look of thorough good-nature 
which immediately ranked her next to Jenny Hitchcock in 

14* 



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her fancy. Mr. Bill Huff followed, a sturdy young man; 
quite as plain and hardly so sensible-looking, he was still 
more shining with good-nature. He made no pretension 
to the elegance of Mr. Juniper Hitchcock ; but before 
the evening was over, Ellen had a vastly greater respect 
for him. 

Last, not least, came the Dennisons ; it took Ellen some 
time to make up her mind about them. Miss Cilly, or Cecilia, 
was certainly very elegant indeed. Her hair was in the 
extremest state of nicety, with a little round curl plastered 
in front of each ear ; how she coaxed them to stay there 
Ellen could not conceive. She wore a real watch, there was 
no doubt of that, and there was even a ring on one of her 
fingers w T ith two or three blue and red stones in it. Her 
dress was smart, and so was her figure, and her face was 
pretty; and Ellen overheard one of the Lawsons whisper 
to Jenny Hitchcock that "there wasn't a greater lady in 
the land than Cilly Dennison." Her brother was very 
different ; tall and athletic, and rather handsome, he made no 
pretension to be a gentleman. He valued his fine farming 
and fine cattle a great deal higher than Juniper Hitchcock's 
gentility. 



CHAPTER XXV. 



Wi' merry san<rs, an' friendly erack9 

I vvat they didna weary ; 
An' unco tales, an' funnie jokes, 

Their sports were cheap an' cheery. 

Burns. 

As the party were all gathered it was time to set to work. 
The fire in the front room was burning up finely now, but 
Miss Fortune had no idea of having pork-chopping or apple- 
paring done there. One party was despatched down stairs 
into the lower kitchen ; the others made a circle round the 
fire. Every one was furnished with a sharp knife, and a 
basket of apples was given to each two or three. Now it 
would be hard to say whether talking or working went on 
best. Not faster moved the tongues than the fingers ; not 
smoother went the knives than the flow of talk ; while there 
was a constant leaping of quarters of apples from the hands 
that had prepared them into the bowls, trays, or what-not, 
that stood on the hearth to receive them. Ellen had nothing 
to do ; her aunt had managed it so, though she would gladly 
have shared the work that looked so pretty and pleasant in 
other people's hands. Miss Fortune would not let her ; so she 
watched the rest, and amused herself as well as she could with 
hearing and seeing ; and standing between Alice and Jenny 
Hitchcock, she handed them the apples out of the basket as 
fast as they were ready for them. It was a pleasant evening 
that. Laughing and talking went on so merrily ; stories were 
told ; anecdotes, gossip, jokes, passed from mouth to mouth ; 
and not one made himself so agreeable, or had so much to do 
with the life and pleasure of the party, as Alice. Ellen saw 
it, delighted. The pared apples kept dancing into the bowls 
and trays ; the baskets got empty surprisingly fast ; Nancy 
and Ellen had to run to the barrels in the shed again and 
again for fresh supplies. 



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"Do they mean to do all these to-night ?" said Ellen to 
Nancy on one of these occasions. 

" I don't know what they mean, I am sure," replied Nancy, 
diving down into the barrel to reach the apples ; — " if you had 
asked me what Miss Fortune meant, I might ha' given a 
guess." 

" But only look," said Ellen, — " only so many done, and all 
these to do ! — Well, I know what ' busy as a bee' means 
now, if I never did before." 

" You'll know it better to-morrow, I can tell you." 

"Why?" 

" wait till you see. I wouldn't be you to-morrow for 
something though. Do you like sewing ?" 

" Sewing !" said Ellen. But " Girls ! girls ! — what are 
you leaving the door open for !" — sounded from the kitchen, 
and they hurried in. 

" 'Most got through, Nancy ?" inquired Bob Lawson. 
(Miss Fortune had gone down stairs.) 

" Ha'n't begun to, Mr. Lawson. There's every bit as 
many to do as there was at your house 'tother night." 

" What on airth does she want with such a sight of 'em," 
inquired Dan Dennison. 

" Live on pies and apple-sass till next summer," suggested 
Mirny Lawson. 

" That's the stuff' for my money !" replied her brother ; 
** 'taters and apple-sass is my sass in the winter." 

" It's good those is easy got," said his sister Mary ; " the 
sass is the most of the dinner to Bob most commonly." 

" Are they fixing for more apple-sass down stairs ?" Mr. 
Dennison went on rather dryly. 

" No — hush !" — said Juniper Hitchcock, — " sassages !" 

" Humph !" said Dan, as he speared up an apple out of 
the basket on the point of his knife, — " aint that something 
like what you call killing two " 

" Just that exactly," said Jenny Hitchcock, as Dan broke 
off short, and the mistress of the house walked in. "Ellen," 
she whispered, " don't you want to go down stairs and see 
when the folks are coming up to help us? And tell the 
doctor he must be spry, for we aint a-going to get through in 
a hurry," she added laughing. 

" Which is the doctor ma'am ?" 



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309 



" The doctor — Doctor Marshchalk — don't you know ?" 
" Is he a doctor ?" said Alice. 

" No, not exactly I suppose, but he's just as good as the 
real. He's a natural knack at putting bones in their places 
and all that sort of thing. There was a man broke his leg 
horribly at Thirlwall the other day, and Gibson was out of 
the way, and Marshchalk set it, and did it famously they 
said. So go Ellen, and bring us word what they are all 
about." 

Mr. Van Brunt was head of the party in the lower kitchen. 
He stood at one end of the table, cutting with his huge knife 
the hard-frozen pork into very thin slices, which the rest of 
the company took and before they had time to thaw cut up 
into small dice on the little boards Mr. Van Brunt had pre- 
pared. As large a fire as the chimney would hold was built 
up and blazing finely ; the room looked as cozy and bright 
as the one up stairs, and the people as busy and as talkative. 
They had less to do however, or they had been more smart, 
for they were drawing to the end of their chopping ; of which 
Miss Janet declared herself very glad, for she said " the 
wind came sweeping in under the doors and freezing her feet 
the whole time, and she was sure the biggest fire ever was 
built couldn't warm that room ;" an opinion in which Mrs. 
Van Brunt agreed perfectly. Miss Janet no sooner spied 
Ellen standing in the chimney-corner than she called her to 
her side, kissed her, and talked to her a long time, and finally 
fumbling in her pocket brought forth an odd little three-cor- 
nered pin-cushion which she gave her for a keep-sake. Jane 
Huff and her brother also took kind notice of her ; and Ellen 
began to think the world was full of nice people. About 
half-past eight the choppers went up and joined the company 
who were paring apples ; the circle was a very large one now, 
and the buzz of tongues grew quite furious. 

" What are you smiling at?" asked Alice of Ellen, who 
stood at her elbow. 

"01 don't know," said Ellen, smiling more broadly ; anfl 
presently added, — " they're all so kind to me." 

" Who ?" 

" everybody — Miss Jenny, and Miss Jane Huff, and 
Miss Janet, and Mrs. Van Brunt, and Mr. Huff, — they all 
speak so kindly and look so kindly at me. But it's very 



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funny what a notion people have for kissing —I wish they 
hadn't — I've ran away from three kisses already, and I'm so 
afraid somebody else will t v y next." 

" You don't seem very bitterly displeased," said Alice 
smiling-. 

"1 am though, — I can't bear it," said Ellen laughing and 
blushing. " There's Mr. Dennison caught me in the first place 
and tried to kiss me, but I tried so hard to get away 1 be- 
lieve he saw I was really in good earnest and let me go. 
And just now, — only think of it, — while I was standing talking 
to Miss Jane Huff down stairs, her brother caught me and 
kissed me before I knew what he was going to do. I declare 
it's too bad !" said Ellen, rubbing her cheek very hard as if 
she would rub off the affront. 

" You must let it pass my dear ; it is one way of express- 
ing kindness. They feel kindly towards you or they would 
not do it." 

" Then I wish they wouldn't feel quite so kindly," said 
Ellen, — " that's all. Hark ! — what was that ?" 

" What is that ?" said somebody else, and instantly there 
was silence, broken again after a minute or two by the faint 
blast of a horn. 

'* It's old Father Swaim, I reckon," said Mr. Van Brunt ; 
" I'll go fetch him in." 

"0 yes! bring him in — bring him in," was heard on all 
sides. 

" That horn makes me think of what happened to me 
once," said Jenny Hitchcock to Ellen. " I was a little girl 
at school, not so big as you are, — and one afternoon when we 
were all as still as mice and studying away, we heard Father 
Swaim's horn" — 

" What does he blow it for ?" said Ellen, as Jenny stooped 
for her knife which she had let fall. 

" O to let people know he's there, you know ; did you 
never see Father Swaim ?" 

"No." 

" La ! he's the funniest old fellow ! He goes round and 
round the country carrying the newspapers ; and we get him 
to bring us our letters from the post-office, when there are 
any. He carries 'em in a pair of saddlebags hanging across 
that old white horse of his — I don't think that horse will ever 



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311 



grow old, no more than his master, — and in summer he has 
a stick — so long — with a horse's tail tied to the end of it, to 
brush away the flies, for the poor horse has had his tail cut 
off pretty short. I wonder if it isn't the very same," said 
Jenny, laughing heartily ; " Father Swaim thought he could 
manage it best, I guess." 

" But what was it that happened to you that time at 
school ?" said Ellen. 

" Why when we heard the horn blow, our master, the 
schoolmaster you know, went out to get a paper ; and I was 
tired with sitting still, so I jumped up and ran across the room 
and then back again, and over and back again, five or six 
times ; and when he came in one of the girls up and told of 
it. It was Fanny Lawson," said Jenny in a whisper to 
Alice, " and I think she aint much different now from what 
she was then. I can hear her now, — ' Mr. Starks, Jenny 
Hitchcock's been running all round the room.' Well what 
do you think he did to me ? He took hold of my two hands 
and swung me round and round by my arms till I didn't 
know which was head and which was feet." 

" What a queer schoolmaster I" said Ellen. 

" Queer enough ; you may say that. His name was 
Starks ; — the boys used to call him Starksification. We did 
hate him, that's a fact. I'll tell you what he did to a black 
boy of ours — you know our black Sam, Alice ? — I forget what 
he had been doing ; but Starks took him so — by the rims of 
his ears — and danced him up and down upon the floor." 

" But didn't that hurt him ?" 

" Hurt him ! I guess it did ! he meant it should. He tied 
me under the table once. Sometimes when he wanted to 
punish two boys at a time he would set them to spit in each 
other's faces." 

" don't tell me about him !" cried Ellen with a face of 
horror ; " I don't like to hear it." 

Jenny laughed ; and just then the door opened and Mr. 
Van Brunt and the old news-carrier came in. 

He was a venerable mild-looking old man, with thin hair 
as Avhite as snow. He wore a long snuff-colored coat, and a 
broad-brimmed hat, the sides of which were oddty looped up 
to the crown with twine ; his tin horn or trumpet was in his 
hand. His saddle-bags were on Mr. Van Brunt's arm. As 



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soon as she saw him Ellen was fevered with the notion that 
perhaps he had something for her ; and she forgot every- 
thing else. It would seem that the rest of the company had 
the same hope, for they crowded round him shouting out 
welcomes and questions and inquiries for letters, all in a 
breath. 

" Softly — softly " — said the old man sitting down slowly ; 
" not all at once ; I can't attend to you all at once ; — one at 
a time — one at a time." 

" Don't attend to 'em at all till you're ready," said Miss For- 
tune, — "let 'em wait." And she handed him a glass of cider. 

He drank it off at a breath, smacking his lips as he gave 
back the glass to her hand, and exclaiming, " That's prime !" 
Then taking up his saddlebags from the floor he began slowly 
to undo the fastenings. 

" You are going to our house to-night, aint you Father 
Swaim ?" said Jenny. 

" That's where I was a going," said the old man, " I was 
a going to stop with your father, Miss Jenny ; but since I've 
got into farmer Van Brunt's hands I don't know any more 
what's going to become of me ; — and after that glass of cider 
I don't much care ! Now let's see, — let's see — ■' Miss Jenny 
Hitchcock,' — here's something for you. I should like to 
know very much what's inside of that letter — there's a blue 
seal to it. Ah, young folks ! — young folks !" 

Jenny received her letter amidst a great deal of laughing 
and joking, and seemed herself quite as much amused as 
anybody. 

" ' Jedediah B. Lawson,' — there's for your father, Miss 
Mirny ; that saves me a long tramp — if you've twenty-one 
cents in your pocket, that is ; if you ha'n't I shall be obleeged 
to tramp after that. Here's something for 'most all of you, 
I'm thinking. ' Miss Cecilia Dennison,' — your fair hands — 
how's the Squire ? — rheumatism, eh ? I think I'm a younger 
man now than your father, Cecilly ; and yet I must ha' seen 
a good many years more than Squire Dennison ; — I must 
surely. ' Miss Fortune Emerson,'— that's for you ; a double 
letter ma'am." 

Ellen with a beating heart had pressed nearer and nearer 
to the old man till she stood close by his right hand and 
could see every letter as he handed it out. A spot of deep- 



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ening red was on each cheek as her eye eagerly scanned lettei 
after letter ; it spread to a sudden flush when the last name 
was read. Alice watched in some anxiety her keen look as 
it followed the letter from the old man's hand to her aunt's, 
and thence to the pocket where Miss Fortune coolly bestowed 
it. Ellen could not stand this ; she sprang forward across 
the circle. 

" Aunt Fortune, there's a letter inside of that for me — 
won't you give it to me ? — won't you give it to me ?" she 
repeated trembling. 

Her aunt did not notice her by so much as a look ; she 
turned away and began talking to some one else. The red 
had left Ellen's face when Alice could see it again ; — it was 
livid and spotted from stifled passion. She stood in a kind 
of maze. But as her eye caught Alice's anxious and sorrow- 
ful look she covered her face with her hands, and as quick as 
possible made her escape out of the room. 

For some minutes Alice heard none of the hubbub around 
her. Then came a knock at the door, and the voice of 
Thomas Grimes saying to Mr. Van Brunt that Miss Hum- 
phreys' horse was there. 

"Mr. Swaim," said Alice rising, " I don't like to leave you 
with these gay friends of ours ; you'll stand no chance of rest 
with them to-night. Will you ride home with me ?" 

Many of the party began to beg Alice would stay to sup- 
per, but she said her father would be uneasy. The old news- 
carrier concluded to go with her, for he said "there was a 
pint he wanted to mention to parson Humphreys that he had 
forgotten to bring for'ard when they were talking on that 'ere 
subject two months ago." So Nancy brought her things 
from the next room and helped her on with them, and looked 
pleased, as well she might, at the smile and kind words with 
which she was rewarded. Alice lingered at her leave-takings, 
hoping to see Ellen ; but it was not till the last moment that 
Ellen came in. She did not say a word ; but the two little 
arms were put round Alice's neck and held her with a long 
close earnestness which did not pass from her mind all the 
evening after ivanl. 

When she was gone the company sat down again to busi- 
ness ; and apple-paring went on more steadily than ever for 
a while, till the bottom of the barrels w T as seen, and the last 



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basketful of apples was duly emptied. Then there was a 
general shout ; the kitchen was quickly cleared, and every- 
body's face brightened, as much as to say, " Now for fun !" 
While Ellen and Nancy and Miss Fortune and Mrs. Van 
Brunt were running all ways with trays, pans, baskets, knives, 
and buckets, the fun began by Mr. Juniper Hitchcock's 
whistling in his dog and setting him to do various feats for the 
°musementof the company. There followed such a rushing, 
eaping, barking, laughing and scolding, on the part of the 
dog and his admirers, that the room was in an uproar. He 
jumped over a stick ; he got into a chair and sat up on two 
legs ; he kissed the ladies' hands ; he suffered an apple-paring 
to be laid across his nose, then threw it up with a jerk and 
caught it in his mouth. Nothing very remarkable certainly, 
but, as Miss Fortune observed to somebody, " if he had been 
the learned pig there couldn't ha' been more fuss made over 
him." 

Ellen stood looking on, smiling partly at the dog and his 
master, and partly at the antics of the company. Presently 
Mr. Van Brunt bending down to her said, 

" What is the matter with your eyes T* 

" Nothing," said Ellen starting, — " at least nothing that's 
any matter I mean." 

" Come here," said he, drawing her a one side ; " tell me 
all about it — what is the matter ?" 

" Never mind — please don't ask me Mr. Van Brunt — it's 
nothing I ought to tell you — it isn't any matter." 

But her eyes were full again, and he still held her fast 
doubtfully. 

" tell you about it, Mr. Van Brunt," said Nancy as she 
came past them, — " you let her go, and I'll tell you by-and- 

by" 

And Ellen tried in vain afterwards to make her promise 
she would not. 

" Come, June," said Miss Jenny, " we have got enough of 
you and Jumper — turn him out ; we are going to have the 
cat now. Come ! — Puss puss in the corner ! Go off in 'tother 
room, will you, everybody that don't want to play. Puss, 
puss ? — " 

Now the fun began in good earnest, and few minutes had 
passed before Ellen was laughing with all her heart, as if she 



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315 



never had had anything to cry for in her life. After " puss, 
puss in the corner" came " blind man's buff ;" and this was 
played with great spirit, the two most distinguished being 
Nancy and Dan Dennison, though Miss Fortune played admi- 
rably well. Ellen had seen Nancy play before ; but she for- 
got her own part of the game in sheer amazement at the way 
Mr. Dennison managed his long body, which seemed to go 
where there was no room for it, and vanish into air just when 
the grasp of some grasping " blind man" was ready to fasten 
upon him. And when he was blinded, he seemed to know by 
instinct where the walls were, and keeping clear of them he 
would swoop like a hawk from one end of the room to the 
other, pouncing upon the unlucky people who could by no 
means get out of the way fasti enough. When this had lasted 
a while there was a general call for " the fox and the goose ;" 
and Miss Fortune was pitched upon for the latter ; she hav- 
ing in the other game showed herself capable of good gene- 
ralship. But who for the fox? Mr. Van Brunt? 

" Not I," said Mr. Van Brunt, — " there aint nothing of the 
fox about me ; Miss Fortune would beat me all hollow." 

" Who then, farmer ?" said Bill Huff ; — " come ! who is the 
fox ? Will I do ?" 

" Not you, Bill ; the goose 'ud be too much for you." 

There was a general shout, and cries of " who then ?" 
" who then ?" 

" Dan Dennison," said Mr. Van Brunt. " Now look out 
for a sharp fight." 

Amidst a great deal of laughing and confusion the line was 
formed, each person taking hold of a handkerchief or band 
passed round the waist of the person before him, except when 
the women held by each other's skirts. They were ranged 
according- to heio-ht, the tallest beino; next their leader the 
"goose." Mr. Van Brunt and the elder ladies, and two or 
three more, chose to be lookers-on, and took post outside the 
door. 

Mr. Dennison began by taking off his coat, to give himself 
more freedom in his movements ; for his business was to 
catch the train of the goose, one by one, as each in turn be- 
came the hindmost ; while her object was to baffle him and 
keep her family together, meeting him with outspread arms 
at every rush he made tc seize one of her brood ; while the 



316 



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long train behind her, following her quick movements and 
swaying from side to side to get out of the reach of the furious 
fox, was sometimes in the shape of the letter C, and some- 
times in that of the letter S, and sometimes looked like a long 
snake with a curling tail. Loud was the laughter, shrill the 
shrieks, as the fox drove them hither and thither, and seemed 
to be in all parts of the room at once. He was a cunning- 
fox that, as well as a bold one. Sometimes, when they 
thought him quite safe, held at bay by the goose, he dived 
under or leaped over her outstretched arms and almost 
snatched hold of little Ellen, who being the least was the last 
one of the party. But Ellen played very well, and just 
escaped him two or three times, till he declared she gave him 
so much trouble that when he caught her he would "kiss her 
the worst kind." Ellen played none the worse for that ; 
however she was caught at last, and kissed too ; there was 
no help for it ; so she bore it as well as she could. Then she 
watched, and laughed till the tears ran down her cheeks to 
see how the fox and the goose dodged each other, what tricks 
were played, and how the long train pulled each other about. 
At length Nancy was caught ; and then Jenny Hitchcock ; 
and then Cecilia Dennison, and then Jane Huff, and so on, 
till at last the fox and the goose had a long struggle for 
Mirny Lawson, which would never have come to an end if 
Mirny had not gone over to the enemy. 

There was a general pause. The hot and tired company 
were seated round the room, panting and fanning themselves 
with their pocket-handkerchiefs, and speaking in broken sen- 
tences ; glad to rest even from laughing. Miss Fortune had 
thrown herself down on a seat close by Ellen, when Nancy 
came up and softly asked, t* Is it time to beat the eggs now ?" 
Miss Fortune nodded, and then drew her close to receive a 
long low whisper in her ear, at the end of which Nancy ran 
off. 

" Is there anything / can do, aunt Fortune ?" said Ellen, 
so gently and timidly that it ought to have won a kind 
answer. 

" Yes," said her aunt, — "you may go and put yourself to 
bed ; it's high time long ago." And looking round as she 
moved off she added " Go !" — with a little nod that as much 
as said, " I am in earnest." 



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317 



Ellen's heart throbbed ; she stood doubtful. One word to 
Mr. Van Brunt and she need not go, — that she knew. But 
as surely too that word would make trouble and do harm. 
And then she remembered " A charge to keep I have !" — She 
turned quick and quitted the room. 

Ellen sat down on the first stair she came to, for her bosom 
M as heaving up and down, and she was determined not to cry. 
The sounds of talking and laughing came to her ear from the 
parlor, and there at her side stood the covered-up supper ; — 
for a few minutes it was hard work to keep her resolve. The 
thick breath came and went very fast. Through the fanlights 
of the hall-door, opposite to which she was sitting, the bright 
moonlight streamed in ; — and presently, as Ellen quieted, it 
seemed to her fancy like a gentle messenger from its Maker, 
bidding his child remember him ; — and then came up some 
words in her memory that her mother's lips had fastened 
there long ago ; — " I love them that love me, and they that 
seek me early shall find me." She remembered her mother 
had told her it is Jesus who says this. Her lost pleasure was 
well nigh forgotten ; and yet as she sat gazing into the moon- 
light Ellen's eyes were gathering tears very fast. 

" Well, I am seeking him," she thought, — " can it be that 
he loves me ! — Oh I'm so glad !" 

And they were glad tears that little Ellen wiped away as 
she went up stairs ; for it was too cold to sit there long if the 
moon was ever so bright. 

She had her hand on the latch of her door when her grand- 
mother called out from the other room to know who was 
there. 

"It's I, grandma. 

" Aint somebody there ? Come in here — who is it ?" 

"It's I, grandma," said Ellen, coming to the door. 

" Come in here deary," said the old woman in a lower 
tone, — "what is it all? what's the matter? who's down 
stairs ?" 

•' It's a bee, grandma ; there's nothing the matter." 

" A bee ! who's been stung ? what's all the noise about ?" 

" 'Tisn't that kind of bee, grandma ; don't you know ? 
there's a parcel of people that came to pare apples, and 
they've been playing games in the parlor— that's all." 

" Paring apples, eh ? Is there company below ?'' 



318 



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" Yes ma'am ; a whole parcel of people." 

" Dear me V* said the old lady, " I oughtn't to ha' been 
abed ! Why ha'n't Fortune called me ? I'll get right up. 
Ellen you go in that fur closet and bring me my paddysoy 
that hangs there, and then help me on with my things ; I'll 
get right up. Dear me ! what was Fortune thinking about ?" 

The moonlight served very well instead of candles. After 
twice bringing the wrong dresses Ellen at last hit upon 
the " paddysoy," which the old lady knew immediately by 
the touch. In haste, and not without some fear and trem- 
bling on Ellen's part, she was arrayed in it ; her best cap 
put on, not over hair in the best order Ellen feared, but the 
old lady would not stay to have it made better ; Ellen took 
care of her down the stairs, and after opening the door for 
her went back to her room. 

A little while had passed, and Ellen was just tying her 
night-cap strings and ready to go peacefully to sleep, when 
Nancy burst in. 

" Ellen ! Hurry ! you must come right down stairs." 

" Down stairs ! — why, I am just ready to go to bed." 

" No matter — you must come right away down. There's 
Mr. Van Brunt says he won't begin supper till you come." 

" But does aunt Fortune want me to ?" 

" Yes, I tell you ! and the quicker you come the better 
she'll be pleased. She sent me after you in all sorts of a 
hurry. She said she didn't know where you was." 

" Said she didn't know where I was ! Why she told me 
herself " Ellen began and stopped short. 

" Of course !" said Nancy, " don't you think I know that ? 
But he don't, and if you want to plague her you'll just tell him. 
Now come and be quick, will you. The supper's splendid." 

Ellen lost the first vieAv of the table, for everything had 
begun to be pulled to pieces before she came in. The com- 
pany were all crowded round the table, eating and talking 
and helping themselves ; and ham and bread and butter, 
pumpkin pies and mince pies and apple pies, cake of various 
kinds, and glasses of egg nogg and cider were in everybody's 
hands. One dish in the middle of the table had won the 
praise of every tongue ; nobody could guess and many asked 
how it was made, but Miss Fortune kept a satisfied silence, 
pleased to see the constant stream of comers to the big dish 



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319 



till it was near empty. Just then Mr. Van Brunt seeing 
Ellen had nothing gathered up all that was left and gave it 
to her. 

It was sweet and cold and rich. Kllen told her mother 
afterwards it was the best thing she had ever tasted except 
the ice-cream she once gave her in New York. She had 
taken however but one spoonful when her eye fell upon 
Nancy, standing back of all the company, and forgotten. 
Nancy had been upon her good behavior all the evening, and 
it was a singular proof of this that she had not pushed in and 
helped herself among the first. Ellen's eve went once or 
twice from her plate to Nancy, and then she crossed over and 
offered it to her. Tt was eagerly taken, and a little disap- 
pointed Ellen stepped back again. But she soon forgot the 
disappointment. " She'll know now that I don't bear her 
any grudge," she thought. 

" Ha'n't you got nothing ?" said Nancy coming up pre- 
sently ; " that wasn't your'n that you gave me, was it ?" 

Ellen nodded smilingly. 

" Well there aint no more of it," said Nancy. " The bowl 
is empty." 

* I know it," said Ellen. 
" Why, didn't you like it ?" 
" Yes — very much." 

" Why you're a queer little fish," said Nancy. " What did 
you get Mr. Van Brunt to let me in for ?" 
" How did you know I did ?" 

" 'Cause he told me. Say — what did you do it for ? Mr. 
Dennison, won't you give Ellen a piece of cake or some- 
thing? Here — take this," said Nancy, pouncing upon a 
glass of egg nogg which a gap in the company enabled her 
to reach ; " I made it more than half myself. Aint it good ?" 

" Yes, very," said Ellen, smacking her lips ; — " what's in 
it?" 

" plenty of good things. But w hat made you ask Mr. 
Van Brunt to let me stop to-night ? you didn't tell me — did 
you want me to- stay ?" 

" Never mind," said Ellen ; " don't ask me any questions." 

" Yes but I will though, and you've got to answer me. 
Why did you ? Come ! — do you like me ? — say ?" 

" I should like you I dare say, if you would be different." 



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" Well, I don't care," said Nancy, after a little pause, — ■ 
" I like you, though you're as queer as you can be. I don't 
care whether you like me or not. Look here, Ellen, that 
cake there is the best — I know it is, for I've tried 'em all. 
— You know I told Van Brunt I would tell him what you 
were crying about ?" 

" Yes, and I asked you not. Did you ?" 

Nancy nodded, being at the moment still further engflged 
in " trying" the cake. 

" I am sorry you did. What did he say ?" 

" He didn't say much to me — somebody else will hear of 
it, I guess. He was mad about it, or I am mistaken. What 
makes you sorry?" 

" It will only do harm and make aunt Fortune angry." 

<: Well that's just what I should like if I were you. I 
can't make you out." 

" I'd a great deal rather have her like me," said Ellen. 
" Was she vexed when grandma came down ?" 

" I don't know, but she had to keep it to herself if she 
was ; everybody else was so glad, and Mr. Van Brunt made 
such a fuss. Just look at the old lady, how pleased she is. 
I declare if the folks aint talking of going ! Come Ellen ! 
now for the cloaks ! you and me '11 finish our supper after- 
wards." 

That however was not to be. Nancy was offered a ride 
home to Mrs. Van Brunt s and a lodging there. They were 
ready cloaked and shawled, and Ellen was still hunting for 
Miss Janet's things in the moonlit hall, when she heard 
Nancy close by, in a lower tone than common, say, 

" Ellen — will you kiss me ?" 

Ellen dropped her armful of things and taking Nancy's 
hands gave her truly the kiss of peace. 

When she went up to undress for the second time she 
found on her bed — her letter ! And with tears Ellen kneeled 
down and gave earnest thanks for this blessing, and that she 
had been able to gain Nancy's good-will. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



"Ho was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust." 

Macbeth. 

It was Tuesday the 22nd of December, and late in the day. 
Not a pleasant afternoon. The gray snow-clouds hung low ; 
the air was keen and raw. It was already growing dark, 
and Alice was sitting alone in the firelight, when two little 
feet came running round the corner of the house ; the glass 
door opened and Ellen rushed in. 

"I have come ! I have come!" she exclaimed. " dear 
Alice! I'm so glad!" 

So was Alice if her kiss meant anything. 

" But how late, my child ! how late you are." 

"01 thought I never was going to get done," said Ellen, 
pulling off her things in a great hurry and throwing them on 
the sofa, — " but I am here at last. I'm so glad !" 

" Why what has been the matter ?" said Alice, folding up 
what Ellen laid down. 

"Oa great deal of matter — I couldn't think what Nancy 
meant last night — I know very well now. I sha'n't want 
to see any more apples all winter. What do you think I 
have been about all to-day, dear Miss Alice. ?" 

" Nothing that has done you much harm," said Alice smil- 
ing, — " if I am to guess from your looks. You are as rosy 
as a good Spitzenberg yourself." 

" That's very funny," said Ellen laughing, " for aunt 
Fortune said awhile ago that my cheeks were just the color 
of two mealy potatoes." 

" But about the apples ?" said Alice. 

" Why this morning I was thinking I would come here 
so early, when the first thing I knew aunt Fortune brought 
out all those heaps and heaps of apples into the kitchen, and 
made me sit down or the floor, and then she gave me a great 
15 



322 



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big needle and set me to stringing them all together, and as fast 
as I strung them she hung them up all round the ceiling. I 
tried very hard to get through before, but I could not, and I 
am so tired ! I thought I never should get to the bottom of 
that big basket." 

** Never mind love — come to the fire — we'll try and forget 
all disagreeable things while we are together." 

" I have forgotten it almost already," said Ellen, as she 
sat down in Alice's lap and laid her face against hers ; — " I 
don't care for it at all now." 

But her cheeks were fast fading into the uncomfortable 
color Miss Fortune had spoken of; and weariness and weak- 
ness kept her for a while quiet in Alice's arms, overcoming 
even the pleasure of talking. They sat so till the clock 
struck half-past five ; then Alice proposed they should go 
into the kitchen and see Margery, and order the tea made, 
which she had no doubt Ellen wanted. Margery welcomed 
her with great cordiality. She liked anybody that Alice 
liked, but she had besides declared to her husband that Ellen 
was " an uncommon, well-behaved child." She said she 
would put the tea to draw, and they should have it in a very 
few minutes. 

" But Miss Alice, there's an Irish body out by, waiting to 
speak to you. I was just coming in to tell you ; will you 
please to see her now ?" 

" Certainly — let her come in. Is she in the cold Margery ?" 

" No Miss Alice — there's a fire there this evening. I'll 
call her." 

The woman came up from the lower kitchen at the sum- 
mons. She was young, rather pretty, and with a pleasant 
countenance, but unwashed, uncombed, untidy, — no wondei 
Margery's nicety had shrunk from introducing her into her 
spotless upper kitchen. The unfailing Irish cloak was drawn 
about her, the hood brought over her head, and on the head 
and shoulders the snow lay white, not yet melted away. 

"Did you wish to speak to me, my friend?" said Alice 
pleasantly. 

" If ye plase, ma'am, it's the master I'm wanting," said 
the woman, dropping a curtsey. 

" My father ? Margery, will you tell him." 
Margery departed. 



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323 



" Come nearer the fire," said Alice, — " and sit down ; my 
father will be here presently. It is snowing again, is it not ?" 
" It is ma'am ; — a bitter storm." 
" Have you come far ?" 

" It's a good bit my lady — it's more nor a mile beyant 
Carra — just right forgin the ould big hill they call the Catch- 
back ; — in Jemmy Morrison's woods — where Pat M'Farren's 
clearing is — it's there I live, my lady." 

"That is a long distance indeed for a walk in the snow," 
said Alice kindly ; " sit down, and come nearer the fire. 
Margery will give you something to refresh you." 

"I thank ye, my lady, but I want nothing man can give me 
the night ; and when one's on an arrant of life and death, it's 
little the cold or the storm can do to put out the heart's fire." 

" Life and death ? who is sick ?" said Alice. 

" It's my own child, ma'am, — my own boy — all the child 
I have — and I'll have none by the morning light." 

" Is he so ill ?" said Alice ; " what is the matter with 
hirn ?" 

" Myself doesn't knoAv." 

The voice was fainter ; the brown cloak was drawn over 
her face ; and Alice and Ellen saw her shoulders heaving 
with the grief she kept from bursting out. They exchanged 
glance*. 

" Sit down," said Alice again presently, laying her hand 
upon the wet shoulder ; — " sit down and rest ; my father will 
be here directly. Margery — oh that's right, — a cup of tea 
will do her good. What do you want of my father ?" 

" The Lord bless ye ! — I'll tell you my lady." 

She drank off the tea, but refused something more sub- 
stantial that Margery offered her. 

" The Lord bless ye ! I couldn't. My lady, there wasn't 
a stronger, nor a prettier, nor a swater child, nor couldn't 
be, nor he was when we left it — it '11 be three years come the 
fifteenth of April next; but I'm thinking the bitter winters o' 
this cowld country has chilled the life out o' him, — and troubles 
cowlder than all," she added in a lower tone. " I seed him 
grow waker an' waker an' his daar face grow thinner an' 
thinner, and the red all left it, only two burning spots was 
on it some days ; an' I worried the life out o' me for him, an' 
all I could do I couldn't do nothing at all to help him, but he 



324 



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just growed waker an' waker. I axed the father wouldn't he 
see the doctor about him, but he's an 'asy kind o' man, ray 
lady, an' he said he would, an' he never did to this day ; an' 
John he always said it was no use sinding for the doctor, an' 
looked so swate at me, an' said for me not to fret, for sure 
he'd be better soon, or he'd go to a better place. An' I 
thought he was like a heavenly angel itself already, an' always 
was, but then more nor ever. Och ! it's soon that he'll be 
one entirely ! — let Father Shannon say what he will." 

She sobbed for a minute, while Alice and Ellen looked on, 
silent and pitying. 

" An' to-night, my lady, he's very bad," she went on, 
wiping away the tears that came quickly again, — " an' I seed 
he was going fast from me, an' I was breaking my heart wid 
the loss of him, whin I heard one of the men that was in it 
say, ' What's this he's saying ?' says he. ' An' what is it 
thin ?' says I. ' About the jantleman that praa'ches at 
Carra,' says he, — ' he's a calling for him,' says he. I 
knowed there wasn't a praast at all at Carra, an' I thought he 
was draaming, or out o' his head, or crazy wid his sickness, 
like ; an' I went up close to him, an' says I, ' John,' says I, 
' what is it you want,' says I, — ' an' sure if it's anything in 
heaven above or in earth beneath that yer own mother can get 
for ye,' says I, — ' ye shall have it,' says 1. An' he put up 
his two arms to my neck an' pulled my face down to his lips, 
that was hot wid the faver, an' kissed me — he did — ' an', says 
he, ' Mother daar,' says he, — ' if ye love me,' says he, ' fetch 
me the good jantleman that praaches at Carra till I spake to 
him.' ' Is it the praast you want, John my boy ?' says I, — 
' sure he's in it,' says I ; — for Michael had been for Father 
Shannon, an' he had come home wid him half an hour before. 
* no mother,' says he, 'it's not him at all that I maan — 
it's the jantleman that spakes in the little white church at 
Carra, — he's not a praast at all,' says he. 1 An' who is he 
thin ?' says I, getting up from the bed, ' or where will I 
find him, or how will 1 get to him ?' ' Ye'll not stir a fut for 
him thin the night Kitty Dolan,' says my husband, — ' are ye 
mad,' says he ; * sure it's not his own head the child has at 
all at all, or it's a little hiritic he is,' says he; 'an' ye won't 
show the disrespect to the praast in yer own house.' ' I'm 
maaning none,' says I, — * nor more he isn't a hiritic, but if he 



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325 



was, he's a born angel to you Michael Dolan anyhow,' says 
I ; ' an' wid the kiss of his lips on my face wouldn't I do the 
arrant of my own boy, an' he a dying ? by the blessing, an* 
I will, if twenty men stud between me an' it. So tell me 
where I'll find him, this praast, if there's the love o' mercy 
in any sowl o' ye,' says 1. But they wouldn't spake a word 
for me, not one of them ; so I axed an' axed at one place an' 
other, till here I am. An' now, my lady, will the master go 
for me to my poor boy ? — for he'd maybe be dead while I 
stand here." 

" Surely I will," said Mr. Humphreys, who had come in 
while she was speaking. " Wait but one moment." 

In a moment he came back ready, and he and the woman 
set forth to their walk. Alice looked out anxiously after them. 

" It storms very hard," she said, — " and he has not had 
his tea ! But he couldn't wait. Come, Ellen love, we'll 
have ours. How will he ever get back again ! it will be so 
deep by that time." 

There was a cloud on her fair brow for a few minutes, but 
it passed away, and quiet and calm as ever she sat down at 
the little tea-table with Ellen. From her face all shadows 
seemed to have flown for ever. Hungry and happy, she 
enjoyed Margery's good bread and butter, and the nice 
honey, and from time to time cast very bright looks at the 
dear face on the other side of the table, which could not help 
looking bright in reply. Ellen was well pleased for her part 
that the third seat was empty. But Alice looked thoughtful 
sometimes as a gust of wind swept by, and once or twice 
went to the window. 

After tea Alice took out her work, and Ellen put herself 
contentedly down on the rug, and sat leaning back against her. 
Silent for very contentment for a while, she sat looking 
gravely into the fire ; while Alice's fingers drove a little steel 
hook through and through some purse silk in a mysterious 
fashion that no eye could be quick enough to follow, and 
with such skill and steadiness that the work grew fast under 
her hand. 

" I had such a funny dream last night," said Ellen. 
" Did you ? what about ?" 

" It was pleasant too," said Ellen, twisting herself round to 
talk, — "but very queer. I dreamed about that gentleman 



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that was so kind to me on board the boat — you know ? — I 
told you about him?" 
" Yes, I remember." 

" Well, I dreamed of seeing him somewhere, I don't know 
where, — and he didn't look a bit like himself, only I knew 
who it was ; and I thought I didn't like to speak to him for 
fear he wouldn't know me, but then I thought he did, and 
came up and took my hand and seemed so glad to see me ; 
and he asked me if I had been pious since he saw me." 

Ellen stopped to laugh. 

" And wlat did you tell him ?" 

" I told him yes. And then I thought he seemed so very 

pleased." 

* Dreamers do not always keep close to the truth, it seems." 

" I didn't," said Ellen. " But then I thought I had, in 
my dream." 

" Had what ? kept close to the truth ?" 

" No, no ; — been what he said." 

" Dreams are queer things," said Alice. 

" I have been far enough from being good to-day," said 
Ellen thoughtfully. 

" How so, my dear ?" 

" I don't know, Miss Alice — because I never aw. good, I 
suppose.'' 

" But what has been the matter to-day ?" 

" Why, those apples ! I thought I would come here so 
early, and then when I found I must do all those baskets of 
apples first I was very ill-humored ; and aunt Fortune saw I 
was and said something that made me worse. And I tried as 
hard as I could to get through before dinner, and when I 
found I couldn't I said I wouldn't come to dinner, but she 
made me, and that vexed me more, and I wouldn't eat 
scarcely anything, and then when I got back to the apples 
again 1 sewed so hard that I ran the needle into my finger 
ever so far, — see there ? what a mark it left ? — and aunt 
Fortune said it served me right and she was glad of it, and 
that made me angry • I knew I was wrong 1 , afterwards, and 
I was very sorry. Isn't it strange, dear Alice, I should do 
so when I have resolved so hard I wouldn't ?" 

" Not very, my darling, as long as we have such evil hearts 
as ours are — it is strange they should be so evil." 



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327 



** I told aunt Fortune afterwards I was sorry, but she said 
'actions speak louder than words, and words are cheap.' If 
she only wouldn't say that just as she does ! it does worry 
me so." 

" Patience !" said Alice, passing her hand over Ellen's hair 
as she sat looking sorrowfully up at her ; — " you must try not 
togive her occasion. Never mind what she says, and over- 
come evil with good.' 

"That is just what mamma said !" exclaimed Ellen, rising 
to throw her arms round Alice's neck, and kissing her with 
all the energy of love, gratitude, repentance, and sorrowful 
recollection. 

" what do you think !" she said suddenly, her face chang- 
ing acrain, — ** I got my letter last night I" 
" Your letter !" 

" Yes, the letter the old man brought — don't you know ? 
and it was written on the ship, and there was only a little bit 
from mamma, and a little bit from papa, but so good ! papa 
says she is a great deal better, and he has no doubt he will 
bring her back in the spring or summer quite well again. 
Isn't that good ?" 

" Very good, dear Ellen. I am very glad for you." 

" It was on my bed last night. 1 can't think how it 
got there, — and I don't care either, so long as I have got it. 
What are you making ?" 

" A purse," said Alice, laying it on the table for her 
inspection. 

" It will be very pretty. Is the other end to be like this ?" 

* Yes, and these tassels to finish them off." 

** O that's beautiful," said Ellen, laying them down to try 
the effect ; — " and these rings to fasten it with. Is it black V 

" No, dark green. I am making it for my brother John." 

" A Christmas present !" exclaimed Ellen. 

" I am afraid not ; he will hardly be here by that time. It 
may do for New Year." 

" How pleasant it must be to make Christmas and New 
Year presents !" said Ellen, after she had watched Alice's 
busy fingers for a few minutes. " I wish I could make some- 
thing for somebody. I wonder if I couldn't make some- 
thing for Mr. Van Brunt ! O I should like to very much." 

Alice smiled at Ellen's very wide-open e} T es. 



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" What could you make for him ?" 

" I don't know — that's the thing. He keeps his money in 
his pocket, — and besides, I don't know how to make purses." 

" There are other things besides purses. How would a 
watch-guard do ? Does he wear a watch ?" 

" I don't know whether he does or not ; he doesn't every 
day I am sure, but I don't know about Sundays." 

" Then we won't venture upon that. You might knit him 
a nightcap." 

" A nightcap ! — You're joking, Alice, aren't you ? I don't 
think a nightcap would be pretty for a Christmas present, do 
you ?" 

" Well, what shall we do, Ellen ?" said Alice laughing. " I 
made a pocket-pincushion for papa once when I was a little 
girl, but I fancy Mr. Van Brunt would not know exactly what 
use to make of such a convenience. 1 don't think you could 
fail to please him though, with anything you should hit upon." 

" I have got a dollar," said Ellen, " to buy stuff with ; it 
came in my letter last night. If I only knew what !" 

Down she went on the rug again, and Alice worked in 
silence, while Ellen's thoughts ran over every possible and im- 
possible article of Mr. Van Brunt's dress. 

" I have some nice pieces of fine linen," said Alice ; " sup- 
pose I cut out a collar for him, and you can make it and 
stitch it, and then Margery will starch and iron it for you, all 
ready to give to him. How will that do ? Can you stitch 
well enough ?" 

" yes, I guess I can," said Ellen. " thank you, dear 
Alice ! you are the best help that ever was. Will he like 
that, do you think ?" 

"I am sure he will — very much." 

"Then that will do nicely," said Ellen, much relieved. 
" And now what do you think about Nancy's Bible?" 

" Nothing could be better, only that I am afraid Nancy 
would either sell it for something else, or let it go to destruc- 
tion very quickly. I never heard of her spending five minutes 1 
over a book, and the Bible, 1 am afraid, last of all." 

" But I think," said Ellen slowly, " I think she would not 
spoil it or sell it either, if / gave it to her." 

And she told Alice about Nancy's asking for the kiss last 
night. 



329 



" That's the most hopeful thing I have heard about Nancy 
for a long- time," said Alice. " We will get her the Bible by- 
all means, my dear, — a nice one, — and I hope you will be 
able to persuade her to read it." 

She rose as she spoke, and went to the glass door. Ellen 
followed her, and they looked out into the night. It was 
very dark. She opened the door a moment, but the wind 
drove the snow into their faces, and they were glad to shut 
it again. 

"It's almost as bad as the night we were out, isn't it ?" 
said Ellen. 

" Not such a heavy fall of snow I think, but it is very 
windy and cold. Papa will be late getting home." 

"I am sorry you are worried, dear Alice." 

11 1 am not much worried, love. I have often known papa 
out late before, but this is rather a hard night for a long 
walk. Come, we'll try to make a good use of the time while 
we are waiting. Suppose you read to me while I work." 

She took down a volume of Cowper and found his account 
of the three pet hares. Ellen read it, and then several of his 
smaller pieces of poetry. Then followed a long talk about 
hares and other animals ; about Cowper and his friends and 
his way of life. Time passed swiftly away ; it was getting late. 

" How weary papa will be," said Alice ; " he has had 
nothing to eat since dinner. I'll tell you what we'll do, 
Ellen," she exclaimed as she threw her work down, " we'll 
make some chocolate for him — that'll be the very thing. 
Ellen, dear, run into the kitchen and ask Margery to bring 
me the little chocolate pot and a pitcher of night's milk." 

Margery brought them. The pot was set on the coals, and 
Alice had cut up the chocolate that it might melt the quicker. 
Ellen watched it with great interest, till it was melted, and 
the boiling water stirred in, and the whole was simmering 
quietly on the coals. 

" Is it done now ?" 

" No, it must boil a little while, and then the milk must be 
put in, and when that has boiled, the eggs — and then it will 
be done." 

With Margery and the chocolate pot the cat had walked 
in. Ellen immediately endeavored to improve his acquaint- 
ance ; that was not so easy. The Captain chose the- corner 
15* 



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of the rug furthest from her, in spite of all her calling and 
coaxing, paying her no more attention than if he had not 
heard her. Ellen crossed over to him and began most ten- 
derly and respectfully to stroke his head and back, touching 
his soft fur with great care. Parry presently lifted up his 
head uneasily, as much as to say, " I wonder how long this 
is going to last," — and rinding there was every prospect of 
its lasting some time, he fairly got up and walked over to the 
other end of the rug. Ellen followed him and tried again, 
with exactly the same effect. 

" Well cat ! you aren't very kind," said she at length ; — 
" Alice, he won't let me have anything to do with him !" 

" 1 am sorry, my dear, he is so unsociable ; he is a cat of 
very bad taste — that is all I can say." 

" But I never saw such a cat ! he won't let me touch him 
ever so softly ; he lifts up his head and looks as cross ! — and 
then, walks off." 

" He don't know you yet, and truth is, Parry has no fancy 
for extending the circle of his acquaintance. kitty, kitty !" 
said Alice, fondly stroking his head, " why don't you behave 
better ?" 

Parry lifted his head, and opened and shut his eyes, with 
an expression of great satisfaction very different from that he 
had bestowed on Ellen. Ellen gave him up for the present 
as a hopeless case, and turned her attention to the chocolate, 
which had now received the milk and must be watched lest 
it should run over, which Alice said it w r ould very easily 
do when once it be<>-an to boil ao-ain. Meanwhile Ellen 
w T anted to know what chocolate was made of — where it came 
from — where it was made best, — burning her little face in 
the fire all the time lest the pot should boil over while she 
was not looking. At last the chocolate began to gather a 
rich froth, and Ellen called out, 

" Oh Alice ! look here quick ! here's the shape of the spoon 
on the top of the chocolate ! do look at it." 

An iron spoon was in the pot, and its shape was distinctly 
raised on the smooth frothy surface. As they were both 
bending forward to watch it, Alice waiting to take the pot off 
the moment it began to boil, Ellen heard a slight click of the 
lock of the door, and turning her head was a little startled to 
see a stranger there, standing still at the far end of the room. 



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331 



She touched Alice's arm without looking round. But Alice 
started to her feet with a slight scream, and in another 
minute had thrown her arms round the stranger and was 
locked in his. Ellen knew what it meant now very well. 
She turned away as if she had nothing to do with what was 
going on there, and lifted the pot of chocolate off the fire 
with infinite difficulty ; but it was going to boil over, and she 
would have broken her back rather than not do it. And 
then she stood with her back to the brother and sister, look- 
ing into the fire, as if she was determined not to see them till 
she couldn't help it. But what she was thinking of, Ellen 
could not have told, then or afterward. It was but a few 
minutes, though it seemed to her a great many, before they 
drew near the fire. Curiosity began to be strong, and she 
looked round to see if the new comer was like Alice. No, 
not a bit, — how different ! — darker hair and eyes — not a bit 
like her ; handsome enough, too, to be her brother. And 
Alice did not look like herself ; her usually calm sweet face 
was quivering and sparkling now, — lit up as Ellen had never 
seen it, — oh how bright ! Poor Ellen herself had never 
looked duller in her life ; and when Alice said gayly, " This 
is my brother, Ellen," — her confusion of thoughts and feel- 
ings resolved themselves into a flood of tears ; she sprang and 
hid her face in Alice r s arms. 

Ellen's were not the only eyes that were full just then, 
but of course she didn't know that. 

" Come Ellen," whispered Alice presently, " look up ! — 
what kind of a welcome is this ? come ! — we have no business 
with tears just now, — won't you run into the kitchen for me, 
love," she added more low, "and ask Margery to bring some 
bread and butter, and anything else she has that is fit for a 
traveler ?" 

Glad of an escape, Ellen darted away that her wet face 
might not be seen. The brother and sister were busily talk- 
ing when she returned. 

"John," said Alice, " this is my little sister that I wrote 
you about — Ellen Montgomery. Ellen, this is your brother 
as well as mine, you know." 

" Stop ! stop !" said her brother. " Miss Ellen, this sister 
of mine is giving us away to each other at a great rate, — I 



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should like to know first what you say to it. Are you willing 
to take a strange brother upon her recommendation ?" 

Half inclined to laugh, Ellen glanced at the speaker's face, 
but meeting the grave though somewhat comical look of two 
very keen eyes, she looked down again, and merely answered 
" yes." 

" Then if I am to be your brother you must give me a 
brother's right, you know," said he, drawing her gently to 
him, and kissing her gravely on the lips. 

Probably Ellen thought there was a difference between 
John Humphreys and Air. Van Brunt, or the young gentle- 
men of the apple-paring ; for though she colored a good deal, 
she made no objection and showed no displeasure. Alice 
and she now busied themselves with getting the cups and 
saucers out of the cupboard, and setting the table ; but all 
that evening, through whatever was doing, Ellen's eyes 
sought the stranger as if by fascination. She watched 
him whenever she could without being noticed. At first she 
was in doubt what to think of him ; she was quite sure from 
that one look into his eyes that he was a person to be feared ; 
— there was no doubt of that; as to the rest she didn't know. 

" And what have my two sisters been doing to spend the 
evening ?" said John Humphreys, one time that Alice was 
gone into the kitchen on some kind errand for him. 

" Talking, sir," — said Ellen doubtfully. 

" Talking ! this whole evening ? Alice must have improved. 
What have you been talking about?" 

" Hares — and dogs — and about Mr. Cowper — and some 
other things, " 

" Private affairs, eh ?" said he, with again the look Ellen 
had seen before. 

" Yes sir," said Ellen, nodding and laughing. 

" And how came vou upon Mr. Cowper ?" 

"Sir?" 

" How came you to be talking about Mr. Cowper ?" 

" I was reading about his hares, and about John Gilpin ; 
and then Alice told me about Mr. Cowper and his friends." 

" Well I don't know after all that you have had a plea- 
Banter evening than I have had," said her questioner, 
" though I have been riding hard, with the cold wind in 



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333 



my face, and the driving snow doing all it could to discomfit 
me. I have had this very bright fireside before me all the 
way." 

He fell into a fit of grave musing which lasted till Alice 
came in. Then suddenly fell a fumbling in his pocket. 

" Here's a note for you," said he, throwing it into her lap. 

" A note ! — Sophia Marshman ! — where did you get it V 

'* From her own hand. Passing there to-day 1 thought I 
must stop a moment to speak to them, and had no notion of 
doing more ; but Mrs. Marshman was very kind, and Miss 
Sophia in despair, so the end of it was I dismounted and went 
in to await the preparing of that billet, while my poor nag 
was led off to the stables and a fresh horse supplied me, — I 
fancy that tells you on what conditions. 

" Charming !" said Alice, " to spend Christmas, — I am 
very glad ; I should like to very much — with you dear. If 
I can only get papa — but I think he will ; it will do him a 
great deal of good. To-morrow, she says, we must come ; 
but I doubt the weather will not let us ; we shall see." 

" I rode Prince Charlie down. He is a good traveler, and 
the sleighing will be fine if the snow be not too deep. The 
old sleigh is in being yet, I suppose ?" 

" yes ! in good order. Ellen what are you looking so 
grave about ? you are going too." 

" I !" said Ellen, a great spot of crimson coming in each 
cheek. 

" To be sure ; do you think I am going to leave you 
behind ?" 
" But — " 
" But what ?" 
" There won't be room." 

" Room in the sleigh? Then we'll put John on Prince 
Charlie, and let him ride there, postilion-fashion." 
" But— Mr. Humphreys?" 

" He always goes on horseback ; he will ride Sharp or old 
John." 

In great delight Ellen gave Alice an earnest kiss ; and then 
they all gathered round the table to take their chocolate, or ra- 
ther to see John take his, which his sister would not let him wait 
for any longer. The storm had ceased, and through the bro- 
ken clouds the moon and stars were looking out, so they were 



334 



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no more uneasy for Mr. Humphreys and expected him every 
moment. Still the supper was begun and ended without him, 
and they had drawn round the fire again before his welcome 
step was at last heard. 

There was new joy then ; new embracing, and questioning 
and answering; the little circle opened to let him in ; and 
Alice brought the corner of the table to his side, and poured 
him out a cup of hot chocolate. But after drinking half of 
it, and neglecting the eatables beside him, he sat with one 
hand in the other, his arm leaning on his knee, with a kind of 
softened gravity upon his countenance. 

" Is your chocolate right papa ?" said Alice at length. 

" Very good, my daughter!" — 

He finished the cup, but then went back to his old attitude 
and look. Gradually they ceased their conversation, and 
waited with respectful affection and some curiosity for him to 
speak ; something of more than common interest seemed to be 
in his thoughts. He sat looking earnestly in the fire, some- 
times with almost a smile on his face, and gently striking one 
hand in the palm of the other. And sitting so, without mov- 
ing or stirring his eyes, he said at last, as though the words 
had been forced from him, " Thanks be unto God for his 
unspeakable gift !" 

As he added no more, Alice said gently, " What have 
you seen to-night papa ?" 

He roused himself and pushed the empty cup towards her. 

" A little more, my daughter ; — I have seen the fairest 
sight, almost, a man can see in this world. I have seen a 
little ransomed spirit go home to its rest. Oh, that ' unspeak- 
able gift !' "— 

He pressed his lips thoughtfully together while he stirred 
his chocolate ; but having drunk it he pushed the table from 
him and drew up his chair. 

" You had a long way to go, papa," observed Alice again. 

" Yes — a long way there — 1 don't know what it was 
coming home ; I never thought of it. How independent the 
spirit can be of externals ! 1 scarcely felt the storm to-night." 

" Nor I," said his son. 

" 1 had a long way to go," said Mr. Humphreys ; " that 
poor woman — that Mrs. Dolan — she lives in the woods behind 
the Cat's Back, a mile beyond Carra-carra, or more — it 



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335 



seemed a long mile to-night ; and a more miserable place I 
never saw yet. A little ricketty shanty, the storm was hardly 
kept out of it, and no appearance of comfort or nicety any- 
where or in anything. There were several men gathered 
round the fire, and in a corner, on a miserable kind of bed, I 
saw the sick child. His eye met mine the moment I went in, 
and I thought I had seen him before, but couldn't at first 
make out where. Do you remember, Alice, a little ragged 
boy, with a remarkably bright pleasant face, who has planted 
himself regularly every Sunday morning for some time past 
in the south aisle of the church, and stood there all service 
time ?" 

Alice said no. 

"■ I have noticed him often, and noticed him as paying a most 
fixed and steady attention. I have repeatedly tried to catch 
him on his way out of church, to speak to him, but always 
failed. I asked him to-night, when I first went in, if he knew 
me. ' I do, sir,' he said. I asked him where he had seen me. 
He said, 'In the church beyant.' 'So,' said I, 'you are the 
little boy I have seen there so regularly ; what did you come 
there for ?' 

" ' To hear yer honor spake the good words.' 

" * What good words ?' said I ; ' about what ?' 

" He said, ' About Him that was slain and washed us from 
our sins in his own blood.' 

" ' And do you think he has washed away yours ?' I said. 

" He smiled at me very expressively. I suppose it was 
somewhat difficult for him to speak ; and to tell the truth so 
it was for me, for I was taken by surprise ; but the people in 
the hut had gathered round, and I wished to hear him say 
more, for their sake as well as my own. I asked him why 
he thought his sins were washed away. He gave me for 
answer part of the verse, * Suffer little children to come unto 
me,' but did not finish it. 'Do you think you are very sick 
John *?' I asked. 

" ' I am sir,' he said, — ' I'll not be long here.' 

" 4 And where do you think you are going then ? ' said I. 

" He lifted one little thin bony arm from under his cover- 
lid, and through all the dirt and pallor of his face the smile 
of heaven I am sure was on it, as he looked and pointed 
upward and answered, 'Jesus!' 



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" I asked him presently, as soon as I could, what he had 
wished to see me for. 1 don't know whether he heard me or 
not ; he lay with his eyes half closed, breathing with diffi- 
culty. 1 doubted whether he would speak again ; and indeed, 
for myself, I had heard and seen enough to satisfy me en- 
tirely ; — for the sake of the group around the bed I could 
have desired something further. They kept perfect stillness ; 
awed, I think, by a profession of faith such as they had 
never heard before. They and I stood watching him, and at 
the end of a few minutes, not more than ten or fifteen, he 
opened his eyes and with sudden life and strength rose up 
half way in bed, exclaiming, * Thanks be to God for his un- 
speakable gift !' — and then tell back — just dead." 

The old gentleman's voice was husky as he finished, for 
Alice and Ellen were both weeping, and John Humphreys 
had covered his face with his hands. 

" I have felt," said the old gentleman presently, — " as if I 
could have shouted out his words — his dying words — all the 
way as I came home. My little girl," said he, drawing Ellen 
to him, " do you know the meaning of those sweet things of 
which little John Dolan's mind was so full ?'' 

Ellen did not speak. 

" Do you know what it is to be a sinner ? — and what it is 
to be a forgiven child of God ?" 
" I believe I do, sir," Ellen said. 

He kissed her forehead and blessed her ; and then said, 
" Let us pray." 

It was late ; the servants had gone to bed, and they were 
alone. Oh what a thanksgiving Mr. Humphreys poured forth 
for that " unspeakable gift ;" — that they, every one there, 
had been made to know and rejoice in it ; for the poor little 
boy, rich in faith, who had just gone home in the same 
rejoicing ; for their own loved ones who were there already ; 
and for the hope of joining them soon in safety and joy, to 
sing with them the " new song " for ever and ever. 

There were no dry eyes in the room. And when they 
arose, Mr. Humphreys, after giving his daughter the usual 
kiss for good night, gave one to Ellen too, which he had 
never done before, and then going to his son and laying both 
hands on his shoulders, kissed his cheek also ; then silently 
took his candle and went. 



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337 



They lingered a little while after he was gone, standing 
round the fire as if loth to part, but in grave silence, each 
busy with his own thoughts. Alice's ended by fixing on her 
brother, for laying her hand and her head caressingly on his 
shoulder she said, " And so you have been well all this time, 
John V 

He turned his face towards her without speaking, but 
Ellen as well as his sister saw the look of love with which he 
answered her question, rather of endearment than inquiry ; 
and from that minute Ellen's mind was made up as to the 
doubt which had troubled her. She went to bed quite sat- 
isfied that her new brother was a decided acquisition 



CHAPTER XXVII. 



The night was winter in his roughest mood, 

The morning sharp and clear 

The vault is blue 

Without a cloud, and white without a speck 
The dazzling splendor of the scene below. 

Cowpkb. 



Before Ellen's eyes were open the next morning — almost 
before she awoke — the thought of the Christmas visit, the 
sleigh-ride, John Humphreys, and the weather, all rushed 
into her mind at once ; and started her half up in the bed to 
look out of the window. Well frosted the panes of glass were, 
but at the corners and edges unmistakeable bright gleams of 
light came in. 

" Alice, it's beautiful !" exclaimed Ellen ; " look how 
the sun is shining ! and 'tisn't very cold. Are we going to- 
day?" 

" I don't know yet Ellie, but we shall know very soon. 
We'll settle that at breakfast." 

At breakfast it was settled. They were to go, and set off 
directly. Mr. Humphreys could not go with them, because 
he had promised to bury little John Dolan ; the priest had de- 
clared he would have nothing to do with it ; and the poor 
mother had applied to Mr. Humphreys, as being the clergyman 
her child had most trusted and loved to hear. It seemed 
that little John had persuaded her out of half her prejudices 
by his affectionate talk and blameless behavior during some 
time past. Mr. Humphreys therefore must stay at home that 
day. He promised however to follow them the next, and 
would by no means permit them to wait for him. He said 
the day was fine and they must improve it ; and he should 
be pleased to have them with their friends as long as pos- 
lible. 



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839 



So the little travelling bag was stuffed, with more things 
than it seemed possible to get into it. Among the rest Ellen 
brought her little red Bible, which Alice decided should go in 
John's pocket ; — the little carpet-bag could not take it. 
Ellen was afraid it never would be locked. By dint of much 
pushing and crowding however, locked it was ; and they 
made themselves ready. Over Ellen's merino dress and 
coat went an old fur tippet ; a little shawl was tied round her 
neck ; her feet were cased in a pair of warm moccasins, which 
belonging to Margery were of course a world too big for her, 
but " anything but cold," as their owner said. Her nice blue 
hood w r ould protect her head well, and Alice gave her a green 
veil to save her eyes from the glare of the snow. When 
Ellen shuffled out of Alice's room in this trim, John gave her 
one of his grave looks, and saying she looked like Mother 
Bunch, begged to know how she expected to get to the sleigh ; 
he said she w r ould want a footman indeed to wait upon her, 
to pick up her slippers, if she went in that fashion. However 
he ended by picking her up, carried her and set her down 
safely in the sleigh. Alice followed, and in another minute 
they were off. 

Ellen's delight was unbounded. Presently they turned 
round a corner and left the house behind out of sight ; and 
they were speeding away along a road that was quite new to 
her. Ellen's heart felt like dancing for joy. Nobody would 
have thought it, she sat so still and quiet between Alice and 
her brother ; but her eyes were very bright as they looked 
joyously about her, and every now and then she could not 
help smiling to herself. Nothing was wanting to the pleasure 
of that ride. The day was of winter's fairest ; the blue sky 
as clear as if clouds had never dimmed or crossed it. None 
crossed it now. It was cold, but not bitterly cold, nor 
windy ; the sleigh skimmed along over the smooth frozen sur- 
face of the snow as if it was no trouble at all to Prince 
Charlie to draw it ; and the sleigh-bells jingled and rang, the 
very music for Ellen's thoughts to dance to. And then with 
somebody she liked very much on each side of her, and plea- 
sures untold in the prospect, no wonder she felt as if her 
heart could not hold any more. The green veil could not be 
kept on, everything looked so beautiful in that morning's sun. 
The long wide slopes of untrodden and unspotted snow, too 



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bright sometimes for the eye to look at ; the shadows that 
here and there lay upon it, of woodland and scattered trees ; 
the very brown fences, and the bare arms and branches of 
the leafless trees showing sharp against the white ground and 
clear bright heaven ; — all seemed lovely in her eyes. For 

M It is content of heart 
Gives nature power to please." 

She could see nothing that was not pleasant. And besides 
they were in a nice little red sleigh, with a warm buffalo 
robe, and Prince Charlie was a fine spirited grey that scarcely 
ever needed to be touched with the whip ; at a word of en- 
couragement from his driver he would toss his head and set 
forward with new life, making all the bells jingle again. To 
be sure she would have been just as happy if they had had 
the poorest of vehicles on runners, with old John instead ; but 
still it was pleasanter so. 

Their road at first was through a fine undulating country 
like that between the Nose and Thirlwall ; farmhouses and 
patches of woodland scattered here and there. It would seem 
that the minds of all the party were full of the same thoughts, 
for after a very long silence Alice's first word, almost sigh, was, 

" This is a beautiful world, John !" 

" Beautiful ! — wherever you can escape from the signs of 
man's presence and influence." 

" Isn't that almost too strong ?" said Alice. 

He shook his head, smiling somewhat sadly, and touched 
Prince Charlie, who was indulging himself in a walk. 

" But there are bright exceptions," said Alice. 

" I believe it ; — never so much as when I come home." 

" Are there none around you then in whom you can have 
confidence and sympathy ?" 

He shook his head again. " Not enough, Alice. I long • 
for you every day of my life." 

Alice turned her head quick away. 

" It must be so, my dear sister," he said presently ; " we 
can never expect to find it otherwise. There are, as you say, 
bright exceptions, — many of them ; but in almost all I find 
some sad want. We must wait till we join the spirits of the 
just made perfect, before we see society that will be all we 
wish for." 



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" What is Ellen thinking of all this while ?" said Alice 
presently, bending down to see her face. " As grave as a 
judge ! — what are you musing about V* 

" I was thinking," said Ellen, " how men could help the 
world's being beautiful." 

" Don't trouble your little head with that question," said 
John smiling ; — " long may it be before you are able to answer 
it. Look at those snow-birds !" 

By degrees the day wore on. About one o'clock they 
stopped at a farm-house to let the horse rest, and to stretch 
their own limbs, which Ellen for her part was very glad to 
do. The people of the house received them with great hos- 
pitality and offered them pumpkin pies and sweet cider. 
Alice had brought a basket of sandwiches, and Prince Charlie 
was furnished with a bag of corn Thomas had stowed away 
in the sleigh for him ; so they were all well refreshed and 
rested and warmed before they set off again. 

From home to Ventnor, Mr. Marshman's place, was more 
than thirty miles, and the longest, because the most difficult, 
P'-irt of the way was still before them. Ellen, however, soon 
became sleepy, from riding in the keen air ; she was content 
now to have the green veil over her face, and sitting down in 
the bottom of the sleigh, her head leaning against Alice, and 
covered well with the buffalo robe, she slept in happy un- 
consciousness of hill and dale, wind and sun, and all the re- 
maining hours of the way. 

It was drawing towards four o'clock when Alice with some 
difficulty roused her to see the approach to the house and 
get wide awake before they should reach it. They turned 
from the road and entered by a gateway into some pleasure- 
grounds, through which a short drive brought them to the 
house. These grounds were fine, but the wide lawns were a 
smooth spread of snow now ; the great skeletons of oaks and 
elms were bare and wintry ; and patches of shrubbery offered 
little but tufts and bunches of brown twigs and stems. It 
might have looked dreary, but that some well-grown ever- 
greens were clustered round the house, and others scattered 
here and there relieved the eye ; — a few holly bushes, singly 
and in groups, proudly displayed their bright dark leaves 
and red berries ; — and one unrivalled hemlock on the west 
threw its graceful shadow quite across the lawn, on which, 



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as on itself, the white chimney tops, and the naked branches 
of oaks and elms, was the faint smile of the afternoon sun. 

A servant came to take the horse, and Ellen, being first 
rid of her moccasins, went with J ohn and Alice up the broad 
flight of steps and into the house. They entered a large 
handsome square hall with a blue and white stone floor, at 
one side of which the staircase went winding up. Here they 
were met by a young lady, very lively and pleasant-faced, 
who threw her arms round Alice and kissed her a great many 
times, seeming very glad indeed to see her. She welcomed 
Ellen too with such warmth that she began to feel almost as 
if she had been sent for and expected ; told Mr. John he had 
behaved admirably ; and then led them into a large room 
where was a group of ladies and gentlemen. 

The welcome they got here was less lively but quite as kind. 
Mr. and Mrs. Marshman were fine handsome old people, of 
stately presence, and most dignified as well as kind in their 
deportment. Ellen saw that Alice was at home here, as if 
she had been a daughter of the family. Mrs. Marshman also 
stooped down and kissed herself, telling her she w r as very 
glad she had come, and that there were a number of young 
people there who would be much pleased to have her help 
them keep Christmas. Ellen could not make out yet who 
any of the rest of the company were. John and Alice seemed 
to know them all, and there was a buzz of pleasant voices 
and a great bustle of shaking hands. 

The children had all gone out to walk, and as they had 
had their dinner a great while ago it was decided that Ellen 
should take hers that day with the elder part of the family. 
While they were waiting to be called to dinner, and every- 
body else was talking and laughing, old Mr. Marshman took 
notice of little Ellen, and drawing her from Alice's side to 
his own, began a long conversation. He asked her a great 
many questions, some of them such funny ones that she could 
not help laughing, but she answered them all, and now and 
then so that she made him laugh too. By the time the 
butler came to say dinner Avas ready she had almost forgotten 
she was a stranger. Mr. Marshman himself led her to the 
dining-room, begging the elder ladies would excuse him, but 
he felt bound to give his attention to the greatest stranger in 
the company. He placed her on his right hand and took the 



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greatest care of her all dinner-time ; once sending her plate 
the whole length of the table for some particular little thing 
he thought she would like. On the other side of Ellen sat 
Mrs. Chauncey, one of Mr. Marshman's daughters ; a lady 
with a sweet, gentle, quiet, face and manner that made Ellen 
like to sit by her. Another daughter, Mrs. Gillespie, had 
more of her mother's stately bearing ; the third, Miss Sophia, 
who met them first in the hall, was very unlike both the 
others, but lively and agreeable and good-humored. 

Dinner gave place to the dessert, and that in its turn was 
removed with the cloth. Ellen was engaged in munching 
almonds and raisins, admiring the brightness of the ma- 
hogany, and the richly cut and colored glass, and silver 
decanter stands, which were reflected in it ; when a door 
at the further end of the room half opened, a little figure 
came partly in, and holding the door in her hand stood 
looking doubtfully along the table, as if seeking for some 
one. 

" What is the matter, Ellen ?" said Mrs. Chauncey. 

" Mrs. Bland told me, — mamma, — " she began, her eyo 
not ceasing its uneasy quest, but then breaking off and spring- 
ing to Alice's side she threw her arms around her neck, and 
gave her certainly the warmest of all the warm welcomes she 
had had that day. 

" Hallo !" cried Mr. Marshman rapping on the table ; 
" that's too much for any one's share. Come here, you bag- 
gage, and give me just such another." 

The little girl came near accordingly and hugged and kissed 
him with a very good will, remarking however, "Ah but 
I've seen you before to-day, grandpapa !" 

" Well here's somebody you've not seen before," said he 
good-humoredly, pulling her round to Ellen, — " here's a new 
friend for you, — a young lady from the great city, so you 
must brush up your country manners — Miss Ellen Mont- 
gomery, come from — pshaw ! what is it ? — come from — " 

"London, grandpapa?" said the little girl, as with a mix- 
ture of simplicity and kindness she took Ellen's hand and 
kissed her on the cheek. 

" From Carra-carra, sir ?" said Ellen smiling. 

" Go along with you," said he, laughing and pinching her 
cheek. " Take her away, Ellen, take her away, and mind you 



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take good care of her. Tell Mrs. Bland she is one of grand- 
papa's guests." 

The two children had not however reached the door when 
Ellen Chauncey exclaimed, " Wait, oh ! wait a minute ! I 
must speak to aunt Sophia about the bag." And flying tf 
her side there followed an earnest whispering, and then a nod 
and smile from aunt Sophia ; and satisfied, Ellen returned to 
her companion and led her out of the dining-room. 

" We have both got the same name," said she as they 
went along a wide corridor ; " how shall we know which is 
which ?" 

" Why," said Ellen laughing, " when you say Ellen I shall 
know you mean me, and when I say it you will know I mean 
you. I shouldn't be calling myself, you know." 

" Yes, but when somebody else calls Ellen, we shall both 
have to run. Do you run when you are called ?" 

" Sometimes," said Ellen laughing. 

" Ah, but I do always ; mamma always makes me. I 
thought perhaps you were like Marianne Gillespie — she waits 
often as much as half a minute before she stirs when anybody 
calls her. Did you come with Miss Alice ?" 

« Yes." 

"Do you love her ?" 

" Very much ! — oh very much !" 

Little Ellen looked at her companion's rising color with a 
glance of mixed curiosity and pleasure in which lay a strong 
promise of growing love. 

"So do 1," she answered gayly ; "I am very glad she is 
come, and I am very glad you are come, too." 

The little speaker pushed open a door and led Ellen into 
the presence of a group of young people rather older than 
themselves. 

" Marianne," said she to one of them, a handsome girl of 
fourteen, "this is Miss Ellen Montgomery — she came with 
Alice, and she is come to keep Christmas with us — aren't you 
glad ? There'll be quite a parcel of us when what's-her- 
name comes — won't there ?" 

Marianne shook hands with Ellen, 

" She is one of grandpapa's guests, I can tell you," said 
little Ellen Chauncey ; " and he says we must brush up our 
country manners — she's come from the great city." 



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" Do you think we are a set of ignoramuses, Miss Ellen ?" 
inquired a well-grown boy of fifteen, wtto looked enough like 
Marianne Gillespie to prove him her brother. 

" I don't know what that is," said Ellen. 

" Well, do they do things better in the great city than we 
do here ?" 

" I don't know how you do them here," said Ellen. 

" Don't you ? — Come ! Stand out of my way, right and 
left, all of you, will you ? and give me a chance. Now then !" 

Conscious that he was amusing most of the party, he placed 
himself gravely at a little distance from Ellen, and marching 
solemnly up to her bowed down to her knees — then slowly 
raising his head stepped back. 

" Miss Ellen Montgomery, I am rejoiced to have the plea- 
sure of seeing you at Ventnor. — Isn't that polite now ? Is 
that like what you have been accustomed to, Miss Montgo- 
mery ?" 

" No sir — thank you," said Ellen, who laughed in spite of 
herself. The mirth of the others redoubled. 

" May I request to be informed then," continued Gilles- 
pie, " what is the fashion of making bows in the great city ?" 

" I don't know," said Ellen ; " I never saw a boy make a 
bow before." 

" Humph ! — I guess country manners will do for you," said 
William, turning on his heel. 

" You're giving her a pretty specimen of 'em Bill," said 
another boy. 

" For shame, William !" cried little Ellen Chauncey ; — 
didn't I tell you she was one of grandpapa's guests ? Come 
here Ellen, I'll take you somewhere else." 

She seized Ellen's hand and pulled her towards the door, 
but suddenly stopped again. 

"01 forgot to tell you !" she said, — " I asked aunt Sophia 
about the bag of moroccos, and she said we should have 'em 
early to-morrow-morning, and then we can divide 'em right 
away." 

" We mustn't divide 'em till Maggie comes," said Marianne. 

" no — not till Maggie comes," said little Ellen ; and 
then ran off again. 

" I am so glad you are come," said she ; — " the others are 
all so much older, and they have all so much to do together 
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— and now you can help me think what I will make for mam- 
ma. Hush ! don't say a word about it !" 

They entered the large drawing-room where old and young 
were gathered for tea. The children who had dined early 
sat down to a well spread table at w T hich Miss Sophia presi- 
ded ; the elder persons were standing or sitting in different 
parts of the room. Ellen not being hungry had leisure to 
look about her, and her eye soon wandered from the tea-table 
in search of her old friends. Alice was sitting by Mrs. 
Marshman, talking with two other ladies ; but Ellen smiled 
presently as she caught her eye from the far end of the room 
and got a little nod of recognition. John came up just then 
to set down his coffee-cup, and asked her what she was 
smiling at. 

" That's city manners," said William Gillespie, " to laugh 
at what's going on." 

" I have no doubt we shall all follow the example," said 
John Humphreys gravely, "if the young gentleman will try 
to give us a smile. 

The young gentleman had just accommodated himself with 
an outrageously large mouthful of bread and sweetmeats, and 
if ever so well disposed, compliance with the request was im- 
possible. None of the rest however, not even his sister, could 
keep their countenances, for the eye of the speaker had point- 
ed and sharpened his words ; and William very red in the 
face was understood to mumble, as soon as mumbling was 
possible, that " he wouldn't laugh unless he had a mind to," 
and a threat to " do something" to his tormenter. 

" Only not eat me," said John, with a shade of expres- 
sion in his look and tone which overcame the whole party, 
himself and poor William alone retaining entire gravity. 

" What's all this ? what's all this ? — what's all this laugh- 
ing about ?" said old Mr. Marshman coming up. 

" This young gentleman, sir," said John, " has been en- 
deavoring — with a mouthful of arguments — to prove to us the 
inferiority of city manners to those learned in the country." 

" Will ?" said the old gentleman, glancing doubtfully at 
William's discomfited face ; then added sternly, " I don't 
care where your manners were learnt, sir, but I advise you to 
be very particular as to the sort you bring with you here. 
Now Sophia let us have some music." 



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347 



He sat the children a dancing, and as Ellen did not know 
how, he kept her by him, and kept her very much amused 
too, in his own way ; then he would have her join in the 
dancing and bade Ellen Chauncey give her lessons. There 
was a little backwardness at first, and then Ellen was jumping 
away with the rest and thinking it perfectly delightful, as 
Miss Sophia's piano rattled out merry jigs and tunes, and 
little feet flew over the floor as light as the hearts they be- 
longed to. At eight o'clock the young ones were dismissed, 
and bade geod night to their elders ; and pleased with the 
kind kiss Mrs. Marshman had given her as well as her little 
granddaughter, Ellen went off to bed very happy. 

The room to which her companion led her was the very 
picture of comfort. It was not too large, furnished with 
plain old-fashioned furniture, and lighted and warmed by a 
cheerful wood-fire. The very old brass-headed andirons that 
stretched themselves out upon the hearth with such a look of 
being at home, seemed to say, " You have come to the right 
place for comfort." A little dark mahogany book-case in one 
place — an odd toilet table of the same stuff in another ; and 
opposite the fire an old-fashioned high-post bedstead with 
its handsome Marseilles quilt and ample pillows looked very 
tempting. Between this and the far side of the room, in the 
corner, another bed was spread on the floor. 

"This is aunt Sophia's room," said little Ellen Chauncey; 
— this is where you are to sleep." 

" And where will Alice be ?" said the other Ellen. 

" she'll sleep here, in this bed, with aunt Sophia ; that 
is because the house is so full, you know ; — and here is your 
bed, here on the floor. delicious ! I wish I was going to 
sleep here. Don't you love to sleep on the floor ? I do. I 
think it's fun." 

Anybody might have thought it fun to sleep on that bed, 
for instead of a bedstead it was luxuriously piled on mattresses. 
The two children sat down together on the foot of it. 

" This is aunt Sophia's room," continued little Ellen, " and 
next to it, out of that door, is our dressing-room, and next to 
that is where mamma and I sleep. Do you undress and 
dress yourself?" 

" To be sure I do," said Ellen, — " always." 



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" So do I ; but Marianne Gillespie won't even put on her 
shoes and stockings for herself." 
" Who does it then ?" said Ellen. 

" Why Lester — aunt Matilda's maid. Mamma sent away 
her maid when we came here, and she says if she had fifty 
she would like me to do everything I can for myself. 1 
shouldn't think it was pleasant to have any one put on one's 
shoes and stockings for you, should you ?" 

" No indeed," said Ellen. " Then you live here all the 
time." 

" yes — ever since papa didn't come back from that 
long voyage — we live here since then." 
"Is he coming back soon ?" 

" No," said little Ellen gravely, — " he never come back — ■ 
he never will come back any more." 

Ellen was sorry she had asked, and both children were 
silent for a minute. 

" I'll tell you what !" said little Ellen jumping up, — " mam- 
ma said we mustn't sit up too long talking, so I'll run and 
get my things and bring 'em here, and we can undress to- 
gether ; won't that be a nice wav ?" 



CHAPTER XXVIII 



He that loses anything, and gets wisdom by it, is a gainer by the loss. 

L'EsTRANGE. 

Left alone in the strange room with the flickering fire, 
how quickly Ellen's thoughts left Ventnor and flew over the 
sea. They often traveled that road it is true, but now per- 
haps the very home look of everything, where yet she was 
not at home, might have sent them. There was a bitter 
twinge or two, and for a minute Ellen's head drooped. " To- 
morrow will be Christmas eve — last Christmas eve — oh 
mamma !" 

Little Ellen Chauncey soon came back, and sitting down 
beside her on the foot of the bed began the business of un- 
dressing. 

" Don't you love Christmas time ?'' said she ; " I think it's 
the pleasantest in all the year ; we always have a houseful of 
people, and such fine times. But then in summer I think 
that's the pleasantest. I s'pose they're all pleasant. Do you 
hang up your stocking ?" 

" No," said Ellen. 

" Don't you ! why I always did ever since I can remem- 
ber. I used to think, when I was a little girl you know," 
said she laughing, — " I used to think that Santa Claus came 
down the chimney, and I used to hang up my stocking as 
near the fireplace as I could ; but I know better than that 
now; I don't care where I hang it. You know who Santa 
Claus is, don't you ?" 

" He's nobody," said Ellen. 

" O yes he is — he's a great many people — he's whoever 
gives you anything. My Santa Claus is mamma, and grand- 
papa, and grandmamma, and aunt Sophia, and aunt Matilda ; 
and I thought I should have had uncle George too this 
Christmas, but he couldn't come. Uncle Howard never gives 



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me anything. I am sorry uncle George couldn't come ; I 
like him the best of all my uncles." 

" I never had anybody but mamma to give me presents/' 
said Ellen, " and she never gave me much more at Christ- 
mass than at other times." 

" I used to have presents from mamma and grandpapa too, 
both Christmas and New Year, but now I have grown 
so old mamma only gives me something Christmas and 
grandpapa only New Year. It would be too much, you know, 
for me to have both when my presents are so big. I don't 
believe a stocking will hold 'em much longer. But O ! we've 
got such a fine plan in our heads," said little Ellen, lowering 
her voice and speaking with open eyes and great energy, — 
" we are going to make presents this year ! — we children — 
won't it be fine ? — we are going to make what we like for 
anybody we choose, and let nobody know anything about it ; 
and then New Year's morning, you know, when the things 
are all under the napkins we will give ours to somebody to 
put where they belong, and nobody will know anything 
about them till they see them there. Won't it be fine ? I'm 
so glad you are here, for I want you to tell me what I shall 
make." 

"Who is it for?" said Ellen. 

" mamma ; you know I can't make for everybody, so I 
think I had rather it should be for mamma. I thought of 
making her a needlebook with white backs, and getting 
Gilbert Gillespie to paint them — he can paint beautifully, — 
and having her name and something else written very nicely 
inside — how do you think that would do ?" 

" I should think it would do very nicely," said Ellen, — 
" very nicely indeed." 

" I wish uncle George was at home though to write it for 
me, — he writes so beautifully ; I can't do it well enough." 

" I am afraid I can't either," said Ellen. " Perhaps some- 
body else can." 

" I don't know who. Aunt Sophia scribbles and scratches, 
and besides I don't want her to know anything about it. 
But there's another thing I don't know how to fix, and that's 
the edges of the leaves — the leaves for the needles — they 
must be fixed — somehow." 

** I oan show you how to do that," said Ellen brightening ; 



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351 



" mamma had a needlebook that was given to her that had 
the edges beautifully fixed ; and T wanted to know how it 
was done, and she showed me. I'll show you that. It takes 
a good while, but that's no matter." 

" O thank you ; how nice that is. no that's no matter. 
And then it will do very well, won't it ? Now if I can only 
catch Gilbert in a good humor — he isn't my cousin — he's 
Marianne's cousin — that big boy you saw down stairs — he's 
so big he won't have anything to say to me sometimes, but I 
guess I'll get him to do this. Don't you want to make some- 
thing for somebody ?" 

Ellen had had one or two feverish thoughts on this subject 
since the beginning of the conversation ; but she only said, — 

" It's no matter — you know I haven't got anything here ; 
and besides I shall not be here till New Year." 

" Not here till New Year ! yes you shall," said little Ellen, 
throwing herself upon her neck ; " indeed you aren't going 
away before that. I know you aren't — I heard grandmamma 
and aunt Sophia talking about it. Say you will stay here till 
New Year — do !" 

" I should like to very much indeed," said Ellen, " if Alice 
does." 

In the midst of half a dozen kisses with which her little 
companion rewarded this speech, somebody close by said 
pleasantly, — 

" What time of night do you suppose it is ?" 

The girls started ; — there was Mrs. Chauncey. 

" 0, mamma," exclaimed her little daughter, springing to 
her feet, " I hope you haven't heard what we have been talk- 
ing about ?" 

" Not a word," said Mrs. Chauncey, smiling, " but as to- 
morrow will be long enough to talk in, hadn't you better go 
to bed now ?" 

Her daughter obeyed her immediately, after one more hug 
to Ellen and telling her she was so glad she had come. Mrs. 
Chauncey stayed to see Ellen in bed and press one kind mo- 
therly kiss upon her face, so tenderly that Ellen's eyes were 
moistened as she withdrew. But in her dreams that night the 
rosy sweet face, blue eyes, and little plump figure of Ellen 
Chauncey played the greatest part. 

She slept till Alice was obliged to waken her the next 



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morning ; and then got up with her head in a charming 
confusion of pleasures past and pleasures to come, — things 
known and unknown to be made for everybody's New Year 
presents, — linen collars and painted needlebooks ; and no 
sooner was breakfast over than she was showing and explain- 
ing to Ellen Chauncey a particularly splendid and mysterious 
way of embroidering the edges of needlebook leaves. Deep in 
this they were still an hour afterwards, and in the compara- 
tive merits of purple and rose-color, when a little hubbub arose 
at the other end of the room on the arrival of a new-comer. 
Ellen Chauncey looked up from her work, then dropped it, 
exclaiming, " There she is ! — now for the bag !" — and pulled 
Ellen along with her towards the party. A young lady was 
in the midst of it, talking so fast that she had not time to 
take off her cloak and bonnet. As her eye met Ellen's how- 
ever she came to a sudden pause. It was Margaret Duns- 
combe. Ellen's face certainly showed no pleasure ; Marga- 
ret's darkened with a very disagreeable surprise. 

" My goodness ! — Ellen Montgomery ! — how on earth did 
you get here P" 

" Do you know her?" asked one of the girls, as the two 
Ellens went off after " aunt Sophia." 

" Do I know her ? Yes — just enough, — exactly. How did 
she get here ?" 

" Miss Humphreys brought her." 

" Who's Miss Humphreys ?" 

" Hush !" said Marianne, lowering her tone, — " that's her 
brother in the window." 

"Whose brother? — her's or Miss Humphreys'?" 

" Miss Humphreys. Did you never see her ? she is here, 
or has been here, a great deal of the time. Grandma calls her 
her fourth daughter ; and she is just as much at home as if 
she was ; and she brought her here." 

" And she's at home too, I suppose. Well, it's no busi- 
ness of mine." 

" What do you know of her ?" 

" 0, enough — that's just it — don't want to know any 
more." 

" Well you needn't ; but what's the matter with her ?" 
"01 don't know — I'll tell you some other time — she's a 
conceited little piece. We had the care of her coming up the 



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353 



river, that's how I come to know about her ; 'ma said it was 
the last child she would be bothered with in that way." 

Presently the two girls came back, bringing word to clear 
the table, for aunt Sophia was coming with the moroccos. 
As soon as she came Ellen Chauncey sprang to her neck and 
whispered an earnest question. " Certainly !" aunt Sophia 
said, as she poured out the contents of the bag ; and her lit- 
tle niece delightedly told Ellen she was to have her share as 
well as the rest. 

The table was now strewn with pieces of morocco of all 
sizes and colors, which were hastily turned over and ex- 
amined with eager hands and sparkling eyes. Some were 
mere scraps, to be sure ; but others showed a breadth and 
length of beauty which was declared to be "first-rate," and 
" fine ;" and one beautiful large piece of blue morocco in 
particular was made up in imagination by two or three of the 
party in as many different ways. Marianne wanted it for a 
book-cover ; Margaret declared she could make a lovely reti- 
cule with it ; and Ellen could not help thinking it would make 
a very pretty needlebox, such a one as she had seen in the 
possession of one of the girls, and longed to make for Alice. 

" Well, what's to be done now ?" said Miss Sophia, — " or 
am I not to know ?" 

** you're not to know — you're not to know, aunt Sophy," 
cried the girls ; — you mustn't ask." 

" I'll tell you what they are going to do with 'em," said 
George Walsh, coming up to her with a mischievous face, 
and adding in a loud whisper, shielding his mouth with his 
hand, — they're going to make pr " 

He was laid hold of forcibly by the whole party screaming 
and laughing, and stopped short from finishing his speech. 

" Well then I'll take my departure," said Miss Sophia ; — 
" but how will you manage to devide all these scraps ?" 

" Suppose we were to put them in the bag again, and 
you hold the bag, and we were to draw them out without 
looking," said Ellen Chauncey, — " as we used to do with the 
sugar- plums." 

As no better plan was thought of this was agreed upon ; 
and little Ellen shutting up her eyes very tight stuck in her 
hand and pulled out a little bit of green morocco about the 
size of a dollar. Ellen Montgomery came next ; then Mar- 
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garet, then Marianne, then their mutual friend Isabel Haw- 
thorn. Each had to take her turn a great many times ; 
and at the end of the drawing the pieces were found to be 
pretty equally divided among the party, with the exception 
of Ellen, who besides several other good pieces had drawn 
the famous blue. 

" That will do very nicely," said little Ellen Chauncey ; — 
" I am glad you have got that Ellen. Now aunt Sophy ! — 
one thing more — you know the silks and ribbons you pro- 
mised us." 

" Bless me ! I haven't done yet, eh ? Well you shall 
have them, but we are all going out to walk now ; I'll give 
them to you this afternoon. Come ! put these away and get 
on your bonnets and cloaks." 

A hard measure ! but it was done. After the walk came 
dinner ; after dinner aunt Sophia had to be found and waited 
on, till she had fairly sought out and delivered to their hands 
the wished-for bundle of silks and satins. It gave great 
satisfaction. 

" But how shall we do about dividing these ?" tsaid little 
Ellen; — shall we draw lots again?" 

" No Ellen,'' said Marianne, "that won't do, because we 
might every one get just the thing we do not want. I want 
one color or stuff to go with my morocco, and you want ano- 
ther to go with yours ; and you might get mine and I might 
get yours. We had best each choose in turn what we like, 
beginning at Isabel." 

" Very well," said little Ellen, " I'm agreed." 

" Anything for a quiet life," said George Walsh. 

But this business of choosing was found to be very long and 
very difficult, *ach one was so fearful of not taking the exact 
piece she wanted most. The elder members of the family 
began to gather for dinner, and several came and stood 
round the table where the children were ; little noticed by 
them, they were so wrapped up in silks and satins. Ellen 
seemed the least interested person at table, and had made 
her selections with the least delay and difficulty ; and now 
as it was not her turn sat very soberly looking on with her 
head resting on her hand. 

" I declare it's too vexatious !" said Margaret Dunscombe ; 
— here I've got this beautiful piece of blue satin, and can't 



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355 



do anything with it ; it just matches that blue morocco — it's 
a perfect match — I could have made a splendid thing of it, 
and I have got some cord and tassels that would just do — I 
declare it's too bad !" 

Ellen's color changed. 

" Well choose, Margaret," said Marianne. 

" I don't know what to choose — that's the thing. What 
can one do with red and purple morocco and blue satin ? I 
might as well give up. I've a great notion to take this piece 
of yellow satin and dress up a Turkish doll to frighten the 
next young one I meet with." 

" 1 wish you would, Margaret, and give it to me when it'a 
done," cried little Ellen Chauncey. 

" 'Taint made yet," said the other dryly. 

Ellen's color had changed and changed ; her hand twitched 
nervously, and she glanced uneasily from Margaret's store ot 
finely to her own. 

"Come choose, Margaret," said Ellen Chauncey; — "I 
dare say Ellen wants the blue morocco as much as you do." 

" No I don't !" said Ellen abruptly, throwing it over the 
table to her ; — " take it Margaret, — you may have it." 

" What do you mean ?" said the other astounded. 

" I mean you may have it," said Ellen, — " I don't want it." 

" Well, I'll tell you what," said the other, — '* 1*11 give you 
yellow satin for it — or some of my red morocco ?" 

" No, — I had rather not," repeated Ellen ; — " I don't want 
it — you may have it." 

" Very generously done," remarked Miss Sophia ; '* I 
hope you'll all take a lesson in the art of being obliging." 

" Quite a noble little girl," said Mrs. Gillespie. 

Ellen crimsoned. " No ma'am, I am not indeed," she 
said, looking at them with eyes that were filling fast, — 
" please don't say so — I don't deserve it." 

" I shall say what I think, my dear," said Mrs. Gillespie 
smiling, " but I am glad you add the grace of modesty to 
that of generosity ; it is the more uncommon of the two." 

" I am not modest ! I am not generous ! you mustn't say 
so," cried Ellen. She struggled ; the blood rushed to the 
surface, suffusing every particle of skin that could be seen ; 
— then left it, as with eyes cast down she went on — " I don't 
deserve to be praised, — it was more Margaret's than mine. 



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I oughtn't to have kept it at all — for I saw a little bit when 
I put my hand in. I didn't mean to, but I did !" 

Raising her eyes hastily to Alice's face, they met those of 
John, who was standing behind her. She had not counted 
upon him for one of her listeners ; she knew Mrs. Gillespie, 
Mrs. Chauncey, Miss Sophia, and Alice, had heard her ; but 
this was the one drop too much. Her head sunk ; she co- 
vered her face a moment, and then made her escape out of 
the room before even Ellen could follow her. 

There was a moment's silence. Alice seemed to have some 
difficulty not to follow Ellen's example. Margaret pouted ; 
Mrs. Chauncey's eyes filled with tears, and her little daugh- 
ter seemed divided between doubt and dismay. Her first 
move however was to rim oft' in pursuit of Ellen. Alice went 
after her. 

" Here's a beautiful example of honor and honesty for you !" 
said Margaret Dunscombe at length. 

" I think it is," observed John quietly. 

" An uncommon instance," said Mrs. Chauncey. 

" I am glad everybody thinks so," said Margaret sullenly ; 
" I hope 1 sha'n't copy it, that's all. 

" I think vou are in no danger," said John again. 

" Very well !" said Margaret, who between her desire of 
speaking and her desire of concealing her vexation did not 
know what to do with herself; — " everybody must judge for 
himself I suppose ; I've got enough of her, for my part." 

" Where did you ever see her before?" said Isabel Haw- 
thorn. 

" she came up the river with us — mamma had to take 
care of her — she was with us two days." 
" And didn't you like her ?" 

" No, I guess I didn't ! she was a perfect plague. All 
that day on board the steamboat she scarcely came near us ; 
we couldn't pretend to keep sight of her; mamma had to 
send her maid out to look after her I don't know how many 
times. She scraped acquaintance with some strange man on 
board and liked his company better than ours, for she stayed 
with him the whole blessed day, waking and sleeping ; of 
course mamma didn't like it at all. She didn't go to a single 
meal with us ; you know of course that wasn't proper beha- 
vior." 



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357 



" No indeed,'' said Isabel. 

" I suppose," said John coolly, " she chose the society she 
thought the pleasantest. Probably Miss Margaret's polite- 
ness was more than she had been accustomed to." 

Margaret colored, not quite knowing what to make of the 
speaker or his speech. 

"It would take much to make me believe," said gentle 
Mrs. Chauncey, " that a child of such refined and delicate 
feeling as that little girl evidently has, could take pleasure in 
improper company." 

Margaret had a reply at her tongue's end, but she had also 
an uneasy feeling that there were eyes not far off too keen of 
sight to be baffled ; she kept silence till the group dispersed 
and she had an opportunity of whispering in Marianne's ear 
that " that was the very most disagreeable man she had ever 
seen in her life." 

<; What a singular fancy you have taken to this little pet of 
Alice's, Mr. John," said Mrs. Marshman's youngest daugh- 
ter. " You quite surprise me." 

" Did you think me a misanthrope, Miss Sophia?" 

" no, not at all ; but I always had a notion you would 
not be easily pleased in the choice of favorites." 

" Easily ! When a simple intelligent child of twelve or thir- 
teen is a common character, then I will allow that I am easily 
pleased." 

" Twelve or thirteen !" said Miss Sophia ; " what are you 
thinking about ? Alice says she is only ten or eleven." 
" In years — perhaps." 

" How gravely you take me up !" said the young lady 
laughing. "My dear Mr. John, 'in years perhaps,' you 
may call yourself twenty, but in everything else you might 
much better pass for thirty or forty." 

As they were called to dinner Alice and Ellen Chauncey 
came back ; the former looking a little serious, the latter cry- 
ing, and wishing aloud that all the moroccos had been in the 
fire. They had not been able to find Ellen. Neither was 
she in the drawing-room when they returned to it after din- 
ner ; and a second search was made in vain. John went to 
the library which was separate from the other rooms, think- 
ing she might have chosen that for a hiding place. She was 
not there ; but the pleasant light of the room, where only the 



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fire was burning, invited a stay. He sat down in the deep 
window, and was musingly looking out into the moonlight; 
w r hen the door softly opened and Ellen came in. She stole 
in noiselessly, so that he did not hear her, and she thought 
the room empty ; till in passing slowly down toward the 
fire she came upon him in the window. Her start first let 
him know she was there ; she would have run, but one of her 
hands was caught, and she could not get it away. 

" Running away from your brother, Ellie !" said he kind- 
ly ; " what is the matter ?" 

Ellen shrunk from meeting his eye and was silent. 

u I know all Ellie," said he, still very kindly, — " I have 
seen all ; — why do you shun me ?" 

Ellen said nothing ; the big tears began to run down her 
face and frock. 

" You are taking this matter too hardly, dear Ellen," he 
said, drawing her close to him ; — " you did wrong, but you 
have done all you could to repair the wrong ; — neither man 
nor woman can do more than that." 

But though encouraged by his manner, the tears flowed 
faster than ever. 

" Where have you been ? Alice was looking for you, and 
little Ellen Chauncey was in great trouble. I don't know 
what dreadful thing she thought you had done with yourself. 
Come ! — lift up your head and let me see you smile again." 

Ellen lifted her head, but could not her eyes, though she 
tried to smile. 

" I want to talk to you a little about this," said he. " You 
know you gave me leave to be your brother, — will you let 
me ask you a question or two ?" 

" yes — whatever he pleased," Ellen said. 

" Then sit down here," said he, making room for her on 
the wide window-seat, but still keeping hold of her hand and 
speaking very gently. " You said you saw when you took 
the morocco — 1 don't quite understand — how was it ?" 

" Why," said Ellen, " we were not to look, and we had 
gone three times round and nobody had got that large piece 
yet, and we all wanted it ; and I did not mean to look at all, 
but I don't know how it was, just before I shut my eyes I 
happened to see the corner of it sticking up, and then I took 
it" 



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359 



" With your eyes open ?" 

" No, no, with them shut. And I had scarcely got it 
when I was sorry for it and wished it back." 

" You will wonder at me perhaps, Ellie," said John, " but 
I am not very sorry this has happened. You are no worse 
than before ; — it has only made you see what you are — very, 
very weak, — quite unable to keep yourself right without con- 
stant help. Sudden temptation was too much for you — so it 
has many a time been for me, and so it has happened to the 
best men on earth. I suppose if you had had a minute's 
time to think you would not have done as you did ?" 

" No, indeed !" said Ellen. " I was sorry a minute after." 

"And I dare say the thought of it weighed upon your 
mind ever since ?" 

" Oh yes !" said Ellen ; — " it wasn't out of my head a minute 
the whole day." 

" Then let it make you very humble, dear Ellie, and let it 
make you in future keep close to our dear Saviour, without 
whose help we cannot stand a moment." 

Ellen sobbed ; and he allowed her to do so for a few min- 
utes, then said, 

" But you have not been thinking much about Him, Ellie." 

The sobs ceased ; he saw his words had taken hold. 

"Is it right," he said softly, "that we should be more 
troubled about what people will think of us, than for having 
displeased or dishonored Him ?" 

Ellen now looked up, and in her look was all the answer 
he wished. 

" You understand me, I see," said he. " Be humbled in 
the dust before him — the more the better ; but whenever we 
are greatly concerned, for our own sakes, about other peo- 
ple's opinion, we may be sure we are thinking too little of 
God and what will please him." 

"1 am very sorry," said poor ElleL t from whose eyes the 
tears began to drop again, — " I am very wrong — but I 
could'nt bear to think what Alice would think — and you — 
and all of them — " 

" Here's Alice to speak for herself," said John. 

As Alice came up with a quick step and knelt down be- 
fore her, Ellen sprang to her neck, and they held each other 



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very fast indeed. John walked up and down the room. 
Presently he stopped before them. 

" All's well again," said Alice, " and we are going in to 
tea." 

He smiled and held out his hand, which Ellen took, but he 
would not leave the library, declaring they had a quarter of 
an hour still. So they sauntered up and down the long 
room, talking of different things, so pleasantly that Ellen near 
forgot her troubles. Then came in Miss Sophia to find them, 
and then Mr. Marshman, and Marianne to call them to tea ; 
so the going into the drawing-room was not half so bad as 
Ellen thought it would be. 

She behaved very well ; her face was touchingly humble 
that night ; and all the evening she kept fast by either Alice 
or John, without budging an inch. And as little Ellen 
Chauncey and her cousin George Walsh chose to be where 
she was, the young party was quite divided ; and not the 
least merry portion of it was that mixed with the older peo- 
ple. Little Ellen was half beside herself with spirits ; the 
secret of which perhaps was the fact, which she several times 
in the course of the evening whispered . to Ellen as a great 
piece of news, that " it was Christmas eve !"